Martin Robertson

Now and Then


Ask no surety of this flawless morning

for noon or afternoon.  Take what may

come—bright or broken day

or dull.  Though unreturning

this clear brilliance, it will live unlost

sealed in the amber past.

The ugly duckling flowered into a swan;

and if this child’s beauty, ephemeral, fade

rebuke no promise, made

and broken—there was none.

Beauty owes nothing: by having been has put

the world, rather, in debt.