Martin Robertson

Now and Then

Gunnar of Lithend

Riding down to the ship of exile waiting

in the firth below

his horse threw him.  He rose, looked round, and said

“Beautiful are the cornfields, white to reaping.

I will not go.”

And stayed, and in a little while was dead.

On marble and gilded bronze the sun is burning

by the laughing sea.

Among the emperor’s guard the wine goes round

with rattle of dice and song, and some are thinking


of some at home dead in the ice-hard ground.