The London plane tree has two leaves left:

one is a bird about to fly south,

the other a bright sear flag in breeze.

Brief sun lights them up, abandons them,

as refugees from plenitude, from summer.


All you need is to imagine this:

two children hanging on to last lifelines

of their family tree, dispersed, naked,

lost in the forest of war

and now exposed, lit up by loneliness.


How is it that we see these things

but turn back to the small screens

where we keep up

with our own so-important news?

We wade through the dried leaves of autumn.


Watch with me tonight; stay and watch

into the small death hours

where meteors and satellites scour skies

with their great metallic weights,

when fox and owl own cities;


wait for the last two leaves

to let go their final hold on ‘home’,

spiral into the obscure tides

dehydrated, cast adrift, untellable.

A leaf for a life.



Zanna Beswick

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