Martin Robertson

Now and Then


Only through patience peace.  Not always then,

but if by practice you have improved patience

patience may comfort you in the lack of peace,

itself may prove a substitute for peace,

a substitute for passion, for all perfection

dreamed and unwon: the only ivory tower

to build for middle age.

Being no fortress, neither is it a prison.

Patience is not concerned with self alone

nor only others, cares for self existing

as one with others, cares for others also.

In tedious winter as in teasing summer

patience alone can be my ivory tower.

I enter middle age.