Martin Robertson

Now and Then

May Day, 1986

Reactors burn.

Clouds of ruinous dust

wander in the random winds.

We know the father’s sins

visited always on the children.  Must

the final turn

of the irreversible screw

fix the coffin-lid down

over humanity just

in our late-flowering hour,

our children’s, their children’s opening day?

We too, we two,

are guilty with the rest, and like the rest

without power,

can only love and hope—and pray?

Well, perhaps loving hope’s a kind of prayer.

The unbelievable gift

of our late love should not be, cannot be

rejected or even made less perfect by

acknowledgement of our guilt,

apprehension of grief.

Our gratitude weighs no less than our care.