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Three Poems by Neil Leadbeater: "Water Boatmen", "Welches Dam in Six Lines", "Hearing a Bittern in Wicken Fen"

February 23, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

Water Boatmen

 

walk on water. Do not waver

like St. Peter. Have no boat to keep in sight

but just keep putting one thin thread

in front of the other

pricking the surface with such precision

that they hardly dent it at all.

For such a tiny insect

their faith must be to us

the envy of the world.


 

 

 

Welches Dam in Six Lines

 

A damp place by all accounts:

grazing grounds for Whooper swans

and wintering birds of prey-

the merlin and the peregrine falcon

who fly into this poem

and will not go away.




 

 

Hearing a Bittern in Wicken Fen

 

We hear it now and again

a dull rumble in odd numbers

threefold mostly but sometimes more

that hollow sound or soft roar

reed-deep in marsh mud

miles off the map.

 

In the chatter of reed warblers

it is a bass drum

punctuating a sentence of

shrill soprano proportions.

 

We hear it now and again

a boom like a foghorn

far out to sea –

more rumour than fact –

never a rumpus, far less a rout

just that strung-out

single note

that lets us know it’s there.


 

from his book Finding the River Horse

 

 

(used by permission of the author)

 

© Neil Leadbeater

 

Neil Leadbeater is a poet, essayist, and critic who has been published widely. Born in England,

he now lives in Scotland. He is a member of the Federation of Writers (Scotland) and is a reviewer

for several journals, including Write Out Loud (UK). He has written numerous books, including

The Loveliest Vein of Our Lives, The Fragility of Moths, and Finding the River Horse.
 

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