Poetry: Nicholas Battey | Cassandra Voices

Poetry: Nicholas Battey


Last Breath of Leaves

Cup a pear, hear it abscise,
number the days until ripe;
the river chuckles with swollen pride –
back to a ditch by six,
drained away to the scaly, selfish sea.

At dawn there’s steam across the water,
a cloud of egrets scuds over;
old and waiting, mud for water,
leaves for a last breath
of wind, tremor, helical free fall –

after life, lope and leap
to nattering heaps; then left
to turn to mull, down horizons sift,
forgotten shades of ochre,
lignin nets over rheumy, russet stones.

Fish the shilletts from their dark homes
in the deep, brown ocean;
grateful, cosseting crumbs swirl in,
close and ready for roots:
succouring limbs of bulb, corm, meristem.

Here my mulling days are numbered,
pride in appearance doomed;
hares teem across the water,
while clouds of regrets scud over;
for I am old and loping after life.


About Author

Nicholas Battey is retired and lives and gardens in West Devon. He was previously Professor of Plant Development at the University of Reading where he wrote research papers, co-edited and contributed to the popular science books 30 Second Biology and 30 Second Evolution, and co-wrote the textbook Biological Diversity: Exploiters and Exploited. He self-published a collection of his poems in 2020 and his music can be found on his website.

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