Three Poems by Neil Leadbeater


These antirrhinums are anti-everything
bar having a good time.
Nip them in the bud
and they pop up bright as paper kites
opening and closing their mouths
in fierce red or yellow –
bees love them
the way they gargle with summer
deep down in their throats.

After the Badger Raid

Putting the lawn back
is no easy task. It quizzes you
with a puzzlement. A green jigsaw
with nothing but angles and edges
torn apart, tooth and claw,
in a turf war for grubs.

You curse under your breath
slot each slab against
the other, stamp your anger
into the ground
entreat each root to set-stitch
along the crazy seam.

Leopard’s Bane

Impossible to miss you
total yellow
like corn marigold or chamomile:
a warm-up after winter.
You are the spotted wildcat
in the spring border
but there is nothing catlike about you.
All the animal in you
has gone to ground:
those subterranean runners
escaping into the wild.


Neil Leadbeater is an author, editor, essayist, poet and critic living in Edinburgh, Scotland. His short stories, articles and poems have been published widely in anthologies and journals both at home and abroad. His latest book is Finding the River Horse (Littoral Press, 2017).

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