BAKINGS

Bakings is The Bakehouse’s new online literary magazine – poems submitted by invitation alongside recordings of featured poets from previous Bakehouse events. Trawl through the site to find fine poetry from Scotland and beyond alongside film poems and illustrations. 

Song : Ghareeb Iskander

 

أغنـيـة

غنّى كلَّ شيء

غنى الأرصفة النائمة

والفجر الغريب

غنى روحه وجسده

حبيبته وأمه

غنى الملائكة والشياطين

غنى الربيع

الأزهار التي تنمو

من بعد ليل طويل

غنى الشوارع

لم يغن الجدران

غنى

وغنى

وغنى

غنى بعينيه

وبيديه

وبقلبه

لم يغن بفمه

كان صمته أبلغ أغنية

كانت حياته

رقصة موت

وأيامه

فراغاً هامساً.

 

Song

He sang the sum of things:

the drowsing pavement,

the unfamiliar dawn.                                   

He sang his soul and body.

His lover and his mother.

He sang angels, he sang devils.

He sang Springtime -

the flowers which open themselves                                                           

after a long night.

He sang the streets

but he wouldn’t sing the hindering walls.

He sang

and he sang

and sang.

He sang with his eyes

and with his hands.

He sang with his heart

but his mouth did no singing.

The richest of all his songs was silence.                        h

His life was

death’s little dance

and his days all

emptiness - a whispering void.           

                                    

Translated from the Arabic by John Glenday

Touch the lucky lead : Liz Niven

 

If only it was so easy

but fate's sealed the future.

No fortune's found

at a forefinger's touch;

the spot rubbed clean,

lead shining silver

on cold cave walls.

Transforming base materials,

it's what we all want;

lives altered to perfection overnight,

when really we work away silently,

long term.

Rubbing till we've fashioned

an existence into

something manageable.

Sometime striking gold.


Note: At Wanlockhead mining village, the miners would rub a patch on the wall at the entrance to the cave, in the hope that they would not be involved in an accident and that they might find precious metals.

The Word of Bernadette : Anna Crowe

 

That pretty, petulant face. I can still see her –

blue eyes, black curls flying – dancing round me

on the flagstones by those big, shady trees

in the school-yard, flicking questions at me

about England: a place I remembered as pale

and drab, back-gardens watered down with rain;

a polite sameness of brick, (and, somewhere, surely,

my new bike and roller-skates, left behind).

What did she ask me, and what did I say

that brought her to a shocked standstill?

It was wiped out by her cry: C’est un mensonge!

What is this word? I move closer, wanting

her to repeat it, and she flinches, thinks

I’m about to slap her but, Qu’est-ce que

ça veut dire? I ask (a useful phrase).

Poised for flight, she flings out, Que c’est pas vrai!

Accused of lying, I should be angry

but, mensonge, I murmur, mensonge;

testing those vowels that could slip,

become mon songe, though only if I say so.

I take my word to share with the unknown trees.


Note: un songe in French means ‘a dream’, and un mensonge is ‘a lie’

The Note : Anna Crowe

Much later, she could see they’d colluded.

The two of them against him once again.

She remembered how all that day

the thunder prowling in the mountains

had muttered in their throats;

the piano a sullen lake; the way the house

had filled with their own weather.

As Scrabble set in for the evening

it was there in black and white:

how they’d occupied one corner of the board,

her mother’s rack a clot of consonants,

hers all vowels, like wordless cries.

Costive and small, their blocks

accused them, refusing to spell out

a word as long as forgiveness.

The television sucked her father’s face

into its glare, and had him cursing

as snow wiped out the film.

They sat silent while he swilled old griefs,

his shaking hands clasping a glass

he’d never finish emptying.

Recalling their alibis – her mother tucked up

with a whodunit, the girl following her father

out to the garage to settle the cat –

it’s clear now that when the glass exploded,

showering the empty kitchen with glittering dust,

the storm had caught the authentic note of the house,

pausing merely to run its finger round the rim.