Exploring how humanity is rooted in and linked to everywhere and everything, David Batten brought a fresh voice and precise language to his reflective, but ultimately hopeful debut, Transhumance. In Untergang, he moves from the open, cosmic, affirming tone to a sequence that is internally reflective — darker, almost claustrophobic. Whereas his first collection ended on the plateau, in the light, anticipating summer, Untergang starts indoors in the dark of a power cut in the depth of winter and finishes inside the writer’s ribcage, where it is even darker. This is not a world without hope, but it is one that urgently needs to wake, to face the dark and change it.
Increasingly confident, Batten uses his distinctive, lyrical voice as a call to reflect on what might really matter in life.
'The Great Escape'
Light seems to be giving up.
Day considers changing sides.
Heat slinks away—sun narrowing
its arc, shortening the line.
Trees withdraw to their inner worlds.
The birds’ evacuation manoeuvres
started weeks ago. Life closes down,
digs in, takes cover—even soil plays dead.
Only we remain obliged
to carry on. Otherwise exodus
by a southern corridor, the quiet
flight from night’s great pincer movement.