Martin Robertson

Now and Then


Language and landscape change.

What we were bred to seems

immutably the same,

a timeless heritage

for us to hand down pure

as we received it.

That’s a delusion.

While we dream we’re conserving,

all the time our own

feet and hands, tongue, thoughts, thoughtlessness

are fretting, working on,

reshaping the inheritance

formed and re-formed before we were

as still it will be when we’re gone.

Decay, corruption foster life.

Even the fossil forming in the stone

helped build a shape which was not there before.

Though change offend and hurt,


would be non-entity.

Mourn the smooth hill, the woods

you love, the fitted words

you love.  Love and mourn,

but the world must turn.