Friday, January 15, 2016

Three Poems by Neil Leadbeater

Winter Lightning

Not the huge electric spark
which is the bolt out of the blue
or a sky lit up above a storm
with no audible phonomena
nor even St. Elmo's Fire
but acer negundo
of the golden bark
showy in winter
when least expected
and loved all the more
for springing surprises
in town gardens
December dreaming
eyes closed to the world.


Are multi-stemmed.  Colossal in white abundance.  The leaves caulite, alternate, simple;
lanceolate to elliptic; glabrous at maturity.

Are huge in number.  A different species for every State barring only Hawaii.

Answer to many names:  juneberry, serviceberry, shadbush and shadblow,
the lovely saskatoon . . .

Closely related like sisters and difficult to tell apart
they are the brides whose flowers
turn to fruit:  red when they ripen
then bluish-black;
a color symphony whose orchestration is familial white
the veiled headress of sheer delight
of snowflakes and clouds
of A. ovalis "Eidelweiss," the flowers opening in early Spring
when the shad run in their hundreds:
New England streams.

The Thriplow Daffodils*

They are Europe's floral headdress.  Asphodels in Elysian fields.  Traps for Persephone.
Opening up on Ash Wednesday and dying back at the end of Lent to a round underground bulb.
Flowers conspicuous by corona trumpets, bell-shaped, bowl-shaped daffadown dillies
with linear, ligulate or strap-shaped leaves.
Paper-white jonquils in the figure-of-eight lanes that haste away too soon; that die of their own
dear loveliness; that are full-throated and bid the year be bold.
Shelley observing the March wind.  Even the Beaufort Scale is blown off course by a misreading
of Roget's Thesaurus:

4.  Average flurry/Judicious commotion/Loose-fitting garments dividing in the wind.
5.  Brazen gust/Bare-faced blast/Unveiled dancers begin to sway.

But mostly it is calm:

0.  Composed/Collected/As you were.
1.  Effortless demeanor/Easy Manner/ As you will.
2.  Trivial air/Simple aria/Vanes moved by song.
3.  Amiable drought/Friendly beer/Glass in constant motion.

Incredible seas of white and yellow having the time of their lives.

*Thriplow is a place in Essex, England, renowned for its daffodils in Springtime.

Neil Leadbeater is an author, essayist, poet and critic living in Edinburgh, Scotland.  His work has been published widely in anthologies and journals both at home and abroad.  His latest publications are "The Loveliest Vein of Our Lives" (Poetry Space, UK, 2014); "The Fragility of Moths" (Bibliotheca Universalis, Romania, 2014); and "Grease-banding The Apple Trees" (Raffaelli Editore, Italy, 2015).  His work has been translated into Romanian, Spanish and Swedish.

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