Martin Robertson

Now and Then

War-time Anecdote

“After they caught me behind their desert lines

I was in gaol, a women’s prison it had been

under the Italians.  The cell-walls were streaked

with red-brown smears.  Jesus, what people!”

Unhappy women

caught from their open world into a cell,

uncomprehending, lost,

illiterate most likely, no resources

but a dull hope.  


Once each month

peeling a sodden rag from her body she’d

wipe it down the wall, marking the snail-course

of her sentence.  A calendar.