Martin Robertson

Now and Then


Sea; rocks and sea; rock and pine,

red earth and olive, pine and bare rock,

broken rock climbing to a point of snow,

to the blinding blue of sky; diamond air

edge to knife-edge with the naked rock

breaking down in a pine-torrent of green

or rock straight to an olive-pearly plain,

straight to a blinding or a peacock sea.

And here and there like stalks of asphodel,

few and broken but straight, gold in the sun,

the cities of Greece: which flowered in her own spring,

withered through the dog-days of Macedon,

through Rome’s opulent autumn, all but vanished

in the long white winter of Byzantium.