Martin Robertson

Now and Then

Index of first lines

A blackbird on the wire
A child cartwheels by me on the sand
A child standing in a wilderness of snow
A dandelion examined
A golden age, an Eden
A jutting stone
A plateful, nice
A wild rose lifting
A word, a gust
Above the sea and the wide sand gulls fly calling
Across a cold bright air the sun
Aeschylus, Euphorion’s son
“After they caught me behind their desert lines”
Age takes everything we hate to give
Age’s bony knuckle
All tasks done, spells are taken off
All the girls get married, and likely lads they wed
Almost before I can remember
And on his right hand hung the face of Diaghilev
And then
As it rained all day
Ask no surety of this flawless morning
At work she smiled.  Resting she made
Autumn is here and lovely
Back to square one, or some square in
Bare trees black against the south’s cold brightness
Beauty and dreams of beauty flourish
Between Orion and the Bear
Between two stations, two or three words and smiles
Between two steps, between two thoughts, breaking
Between waking and sleep
Brothers, men who breathe the air
Bury my heart…  But the heart’s not one
“… but if you’re in a hurry and can’t wait for me”
Carly Gancher at four
Cassandra screamed that Troy would fall
Child I believed
Children of the mines
Children stone a swan
Clouds roll off.  Summer is truly summer
Considering our mortality
Considers, musing at the sleeper’s side
Cornered in the bewildering night
Cows lounge among buttercups and dew
Curled up you sleep, or stirring
“Dear Adviser, can you help me to cope”
Deserts are somewhere else
“Die should you now, what have you done?”
Dirty old brutal bear
Do you remember…?  Did you know…?
Does time embrace existence or existence time?
Don’t fret
Don’t smile in the street
Dreams of good
Drink (your fill
Easy to live in the lands above the sea
Everything we love
Fall rainbows the forest-acred mountains
“Faster, faster” cries the manic queen “faster”
Feelings of guilt, feelings of resentment
Five terraced meres
Fled are the open sky, the easy slumber
From every hedge lightly the rose
From woods and valleys now the gathered night
Frontiers break to barbary
Galaxies, galleon-bold adventurers, pass
George Jackson tried to break jail
Glance lifts to a crucifix
God, in whom I have no faith
Golden, red, brown
Gorse and rock and bog lap the wall
“Half-way along life’s road…”
Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl
Happy those who filled
Have always been too fond of sitting still
He chose the symbol of the swan
He had reached the ends of the earth
He is tall, his hair is raven
He ran like those who race for the cloth-of-green
Heaven I don’t covet
Her blistered fingers stumbling at their task
Here in this rock lie stony semblances
Here must the longing blood allay its heat
High boughs arch over the half-dry creek
How does it come that here
Husk flakes from the seed
I could not in my orchard sleep that day
I don’t believe in God, and yet I pray
I don’t suppose out of the grave
I fled by night and in the grey
I have no belief in a personal god
I have (what seemingly you do not see)
I have you always in my mind
I scorched my heart’s earth
I stand on the balcony
I stepped out of my thoughts
I tripped and fell, heavy on knees and knuckles
I walked down Piccadilly in the black-out
I, who know my inner man
I woke in the night and heard the rain falling
Industrious humanity
Jesus, digesting the meal Martha served
“Joy we denied,”
Language and landscape change
Larch, gorse, rough grass
Late October hedges along this lane
Lear storms
Life narrows down between our closing arms
Lightly blows
Like music heard in
Look up into the night, but not to extend
Love you have.  May he stay
Love’s eyes and hands and all his senses flower
Man and woman constantly (are we not?)
Man’s sex is a weapon, woman’s a wound
Many things have to go
May we assign a cause?
Miranda to Ophelia
Moonlight transfigures marble
Morning’s first light, spring light, a clear-
Most of us, somewhere along the road
Music is landscape
My bay-leaves, where are they?  Bring them here, Thestylis
My grandchildren are stamping the ice-puddles
My shield (not its fault) is making some tribesman’s day
Nature is much to wreck, but man can do it
No last year’s letter, nor
No, not a prince.  The boy we’ll come to know
Noon.  But the sun is low
Not yet the necessary word awakes
Now dogrose bushes star the hedges again
Now May is here.  The wintered senses wake
O Time, whose hand about our childhood’s hand
Oedipus laid the king his father dead
Of eternity in Hell
On the high hill, in sun-bright scrub
One by one winter puts out the torches
One full half of the willow was riven away
One hurt by one he loves hurts those that love him
Only through patience peace.  Not always then
Our idols fall.  Not that their feet are clay
Our lives are in other hands.  So are the lives
Out from the cliff birds wheel wild, a white
Over beyond the river
Pelops may rule his country, Croesus count out his money
Quick to beauty more than is common
Reactors burn
Released from cloud the low sun at my back
Riding down to the ship of exile waiting
“Ring out the old, ring in the new”
Riven temper runs along the table
Sea; rocks and sea; rock and pine
Sea, stone, cypress
She fought the hard sinews, the horribly
She hung out of her window to watch the stars
She waited for him, waited
Shown through the shadow of action, word and look
Snow under grey cloud
“Soldiers, advance against the enemy.”
“Some food, for pity.”
Something withheld him from lifting the spade to strike
Sorrow I have known
Speeds gather as lives hurtle down
St. Januarius’s blood
Still young that unknown face; yet not quite young
Suffer the little
Summer recurs
Sweetness spreads about
Tell the King: the intricate fane is fallen
That dream, like many another dream
That time we started drinking
The bare, beautiful borders, cruel borders
The bare trunks of the beech-trees
The blind girl’s face, which never was
The cedar’s sunny terraces
The chrysalis age of waiting is not wasted
The clouds that pressed the air
The cordon drawn
The doctor, after the examination
‘The enemy’
The field of cloth of gold shines as it shone
The gate groans to behind
The girl came into the church
The girl in the train looks out with brown eyes
The grass in the next field
The hawk is beautiful
The huge reflector of the hanging light
The Judge was very kind.  He called her up
The lady of the house
The lamp in the translucent pane
The land stoops to the sea
The light falls equally on all; it glances
The lines recur, the poem closes
The living spirit, as beautiful and strong
The maddened father, fed
The Mother sat, her dead Son on her knees
The municipal building stood square in my dream
The objects in this case
The path across the quaking bog
The pool of love standing in
The quarried rock drops to the slums
The river to the sea
The scar-lips of the wounded wood
The seasons come, the seasons pass
The shutter flicks; the fleeting moment stays
The sky is a firm dome bounding earth’s plain
The spear is my rough wine, as it is my bread
The stars are faint on the pale sky above
The sun is soft, soft the blue horizon
The tilted earth pauses, prepares to lean
The track up the wild stream
The war was over and the world was all
The waste, the loss we said
The waves move on uncharted courses
The year wheels on into the same seasons
There but for the grace of God go I
There is no last rose
These fields and trees
These posts which stud
They bear no company
They burned drowned Shelley
They think as they take breath, bearing no trace
Things aren’t what they were
This child was thrashed to death for thieving, lying
This demon that has come
This woman, this child, this man
Through untimed fields of childhood the shadows and light
Timbers driven deep through summer-slack
Time is a child
Time threw the columned temples down
“To God” He answered “those things which are God’s,”
To make a world all kinds aspire
Today we feel behind us
Together, love spreads bright under the clear
Towards the hill would Alice go
Under the grey sky
Under the light fresh day
Under the spring sun moves the innocent band
Up through the opaque water another year
Uproot the rich hedges that roads may be wider
Uxorious the Duke.  While Angelo
Walking I heard the train
Warm summer cycle
Watching the children shouting in the pool
We are part of nature.  At least, we issue from
We are the passing contacts of two worlds
We lived and sang, my brother
We must, if we would have our children live
What did he want her told?  Why indeed
What did the flame force from the flesh?
What do they feel, two old people who part
When first ghosts of our own begetting
When shall we meet again?  We do not know
Where are they gone, where?
White foam sweeps along the grey-brown shore
Who so firmly set in time and place
Why do I dream this pause
Wind is chilly on shoulders.  Buses pass
Winter morning
Woods, beech and fir.  Water—always
Words from a dream ‘For ever
Yes,/living alone is lonely
Yes, you’re right.  Misunderstandings may
“You!  Hi!  You over there!”
You who are manifest in reason and faith
You wonder what the sirens sang?
Young, I thought
Your freedom, which our fathers stole