Poetry: Nicholas Battey | Cassandra Voices

Poetry: Nicholas Battey


Leaf-ladder to the Sky

Dusk drums down the harbour,
Seagull sirens sound alarms,
A quiet motor sings;
Shards of mingling words slip away
Where huddled houses hug the bay;
A fish flops on the scalloped sea,
Ripples spreadly ring,
Ring, and ring, diminishing, to me:
Here are all enchantments reined,
Stowed within this compassed, solitary brain,

Haven to the slopes of coastal trees
Quiffed by parching westerlies;
Also, yellow leontodon,
Speckled on banks like sodium stars,
Where dreadlocked gorse gives way to grass;
Sheep-clipped sward; sun-lidded eyes; Doppler flies;
Various winds playing on and on,
While brambles leaf-ladder to the sky:
Here are all enchantments lain,
Meaningless, but marvellous, just the same.

Half-moon, bling of eventide
Hauls on saps which flow in time
To an ancient pulse;
Wyrt and weed together hear
The chuckle of the inner sphere;
Clackery of wind in rigging
Sees strait waters salsa,
Slap; soon sea-swells serry unforgiving:
Here are all enchantments made;
Out there, the consequences born, and paid.

Roses like suns arise and grow
Across the ramshackle brow;
A heavy scent
Swallows on the drooping air,
Is gone, recalled as summer
In the addled world behind,
Where wishes, sentiment
And bamboozling nature recombine;
Hence are all enchantments lulls,
Hummed by puzzled gardeners of the skull.

Featured Image: Daniele Idini


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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