8.00 a.m. in the Flood Meadows -Autumn Morning at Hesketh Bank
You can’t see the sea from here but it’s out there, somewhere.
The Ordnance Survey says so. You can sense it, too,
in the morning air; smell the brine off the salt marsh.
It is the end of the line, or even the world, the last
sandbar ridged by the tide.
Out here, it is easy for thoughts to slip anchor.
Nothing is rooted. Flood waters run where they will
and any wind, given the chance, will exploit a break
through the sill. On certain nights,
when a cold draught rolls off the wave, a sea-fog
can fall like a curtain.
So we sit it out in safety; laugh behind the brick-walled barns
watch the gulls snooping for voles, the black head
of a startled coot, and the top deck of the Southport bus
inching along the road:
the only certainty you can set a watch to.
The Fallen Elm
Overnight it happened
in the long, rip-flapping, tent-snapping darkness
and it made us sad that any tree should come to grief
When the wind-thrashed, blustery rain-squall
bowled in the day,
we consoled ourselves, you and I, willed
it would rest on its roots, that
all that was called for was a shifting of gears
like a man who briefly loses his balance
to gain his own equilibrium.
In all the years of our long lives
it had given nothing away.
Now as we peer into its hollow rim
how closely we have come to see the vapour moths and
whose quiet industry has worked its way
into the dead centre
The Night Transmission
It must have been close to midnight when we found
the burnt-out truck.
A torch lit up
the rear advance of night flies, all manner of
that circled round the frame.
Beneath the dashboard was the radio. A clear,
authoritative bell-like sound
intoning the holy trilogies…
At the edge of the wood
the broadcast fell among ears of wheat.
Its text was almost scriptural.
Neil Leadbeater was born 1951, in Wolverhampton, England. Educated at Repton School, Derbyshire, England. BA (Hons) English, University of London (1973). His poetry books are: Hoarding Conkers at Hailes Abbey (Littoral Press, 2010); Amazing World (leaflet) (Atlantean Publishing, 2010) and Librettos for the Black Madonna (White Adder Press, 2011). His work has appeared in the following anthologies: The Review of Contemporary Poetry (Ed. Gary Bills) (Bluechrome Publishing, 2005); 101 Poets For a Cornish Assembly (Ed. Les Merton) (Boho Press, 2006) and The Real Survivors Anthology (Ed. Barry Tebb) (Sixties Press, 2006). His poems and short stories have appeared in the following magazines: Aabye’s Baby; Aireings; Aspire; Awen; Bard; Breathe; Candelabrum; Carillon; Chanticleer Magazine; Coffee House Poetry; Creature Features (Cyprus); Critical Survey; Curlew; Dandelion Arts Magazine; Decanto; Dial 174; Earth Love; Envoi; Exile; Fife Lines; Fire; First Time; ibid; Inclement; iota; Island; Lines Review; Littoral Magazine; Markings; Never Bury Poetry; Oasis; Obsessed with Pipework; Panda Quarterly Poetry Magazine; Pennine Ink; Pennine Platform; Phoenix New Life Poetry; Poetic Licence; Poetry Cornwall; Poetry Greece (Greece); Poetry Monthly; Poetry Monthly International; Poetry Nottingham International; Poetry Scotland; Pulsar; Purple Patch; Pushing Out The Boat; Quantum Leap; Quarry; Reach Poetry; Red Herring; Reflections; Sarasvati; Saw; Sepia; Superfluity; The Dawntreader; The Eildon Tree; The Journal; The Red Wheelbarrow; The Seventh Quarry; The Shop (Eire); Thorny Locust (USA); Understanding; Urban District Writer; Urban Landscapes; Voice and Verse; Yorkshire Journal; Weyfarers; Writer’s Review.
The follow poems are from his book Hoarding Conkers at Hailes Abbey.