Poetry Drawer: Four Poems by Neil Leadbeater

Lightbulb Moments II

Chadwick’s neutron, Fleming’s penicillin
and Dalton’s law of multiple proportion
was a GLS BC/B22 Opal Energizer
lightbulb moment.

Orville and Wilbur Wright’s petrol-driven aeroplane,
Daimler’s petrol-driven car and Becquerel discovering
the principles of photo-electric cells
was a JCB LED Built To Last instant start
lightbulb moment.

Cartwright’s power loom, Davy’s safety lamp
and Newton discovering the laws of gravity
was a Halogen linear instant full light 240 watt
lightbulb moment.

The invention of the lightbulb by Thomas Edison
and Joseph Swan
was an incandescent tungsten filament
lightbulb moment.

This poem is a white wax sentinel night light
with eight hours to burn.

Unslaked Summer

Punch-drunk in Rio you want the first breeze that comes along
to sweep you off your feet; whirlwind love
in the eye of the storm-
that burning testament of human endeavour
that opens windows on
a man and a woman
who are in the territory of the deeply-loved
will outlast all ends.


Dangerous in daylight
you stray into Lapa.
It’s just to look at the Arches
built in the time of the Viceroys-
to stand and behold
the narrow gauge streetcars
rumbling above
but it straddles a haven for muggers;
hop-heads, filchers;
land-rats; drunks
so you spend the day
jumping at shadows:
learn to live in terror
back pinned to the wall.

On The Forlorn Apathy of Summer Air

You never get used to this weather
the sort that says
what’s the point of tightening up
those isobars then throwing
away the spanner…
even the weather girl
has run out of passion
she leaves you thirsting for
rainy day showers
Jacuzzi skies
the hip-hop sparkle of wave water
careening into the Bay.

Neil Leadbeater is an author, 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 publications include Librettos for the Black Madonna (White Adder Press, Scotland, 2011); The Worcester Fragments (Original Plus Press, England, 2013); The Loveliest Vein of Our Lives (Poetry Space, England, 2014), Sleeve Notes (Editura Pim, Iaşi, Romania, 2016) Finding the River Horse (Littoral Press, 2017) and Penn Fields (Littoral Press, 2019). His work has been translated into several languages including Dutch, French, Romanian, Spanish and Swedish.

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