Martin Robertson

Now and Then


At work she smiled.  Resting she made

a bracelet braided from her hair

to give her love, but he was dead

and never came again to her.

She wept a little time alone,

alone much longer moved and sat.

In time there came another one

who loved her dearly though so late.

She liked his love.  She liked him well.

After long cold she liked the warm.

A few tears formed but scarcely fell.

She bound the bracelet on his arm.

Plaited in smiling love to bind

his arm in whom her soul had lived,

she gave it now to be a sign

that all she had and was she gave.

Alas, honest and warm and brave

she lost them both by one mistake.

Oneself is not one’s own to give

as though it were a braided lock.

The scissors left a little gap

filled long ago by growth, and now

the threads she wove in love and hope

grow dim to her and lose their power,

but on his arm still burning bright

as though lit by the inner flame

which sears his spirit day and night

they mark his bondage to a dream.