Martin Robertson

Now and Then

“Life is sweet, brother”

Winter morning.

This clear level light makes beautiful

all the brick-grey desert, the swirling banner

we bear of smoke, smoke of factories,

the factories themselves, washing shining

in narrow yards, the yards, even the narrow

houses, serried and stacked.

Not only in the eye of the beholder.

Beauty is more mysterious than that

struck by a trick of light from ugliness

even for one

for whom that ugliness holds nothing dear.

I remember

beauty just so shining from air to eye

across brimming waters of misery,

no less beautiful for that, more beautiful,


a kind of sweetness to an undulled pang.