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 currently employed as a part-time gardener for the National Trust, and 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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