April 29-May 5, 2013: Neil Leadbeater and Geoffrey Hoffman

Neil Leadbeater and Geoffrey Hoffman

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Neil Leadbeater

Bio (auto)

Neil Leadbeater was born and brought up in Wolverhampton, England. He was educated at Repton and is an English graduate from the University of London. For over 30 years he worked in various administrative posts in the NHS, first in England and then in Scotland. He now lives in Edinburgh and has made Scotland his home. His many and varied interests embrace most aspects of the arts and, on winter evenings, he enjoys the challenge of getting to grips with ancient, medieval and modern languages. Author, poet, essayist and critic, his work has been published widely in anthologies and journals both at home and abroad. His latest collection of poems, Librettos for the Black Madonna, was published by White Adder Press in 2011. He is a regular reviewer for the on-line magazine Galatea Resurrects (A Poetry Engagement) (USA) and an external contributor for the UK to the Romanian journal, Orizont Literar Contemporan (Contemporary Literary Horizon) which is based in Bucharest. His work has been translated into Romanian and Spanish.

The following work is Copyright © 2013, and owned by Neil Leadbeater and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Old Man in Managua

Sits on the fault line
rocked by quakes.

This evening like no other
his world is peopled with birds –
men with raven hands and feet,
women with raven hair.

He’s still in the building that is falling down;
has not yet reached the ground.
It has been falling for months now.
Each day, a little bit more of it
shifts out of true.

The freestanding furniture of his arms and legs
muddles up the stairs.

As long as there is light
he puts his prayers in the safest of places:
these thin, dry offerings
uplifted in his hands.


Working late with wheels and axles –
I saw the tractor head for the beach:
it could have been Polperro.
Rags waved in the cold stutter hedge
so I closed the garage
and summoned up what warmth I could
oiling the engine of a
Renault Megane:
salt in the carburettor.

And I thought of the fish boys
in the river-bright light
crawling like ants for a shrimp haul –
each of us trying to net a living
one way or another –
and started up the salt-shot motor
which coughed at first
like pebble grammar
and then came squeaky clean.


Geoffrey Hoffman

Bio (auto)

I was born in 1937, read English at Oxford, qualified as a Solicitor and worked mainly in the civil service, being at different times a Registrar of Criminal Appeals in the Supreme Court, and head of Conveyancing and Matrimonial Litigation for the Official Solicitor, acting principally on behalf of the mentally ill. I then took early retirement. All this time I had been writing poetry. Having had poems published in Understanding Literary Magazine, Krax, Monkey Kettle, Candelabrum, The Journal and Isthmus, and won 17 prizes in international competitions, I have had eight books of poetry published, some in the US, not by Vanity Publishers! I do not live in a city but in an English village named Shenley, not far from the city of St Albans, just north of London, UK.

The following work is Copyright © 2013, and owned by Geoffrey Hoffman and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Today Near Watford Market

Loud in the High Street an atheist raged,
indignating a sermon against sermons,
on the iniquity of righteousness;
proving beyond unreasonable doubt
both the impossibility of God
and his own non-existence.

Circling like wolves, the true-believers snarled,
snapping at both his arguments and him.
The nearby fountains flowed on, undisturbed.
No earthquake shook. Reality remained.
Urgent shoppers, blindly scurrying,
intent on their own personal concerns
eddied to avoid embarrassment.
one old lady on her way to Heaven,
catching her heel against life’s paving stone,
…………………………and sliding
spilling her shopping-trolley and herself.

The atheist, careless of heavenly reward
or punishment, decapitated his
tirade, jostling to her assistance through
unmoving ranks of true-believing ice:

today near Watford Market I saw God.

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