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. 

On Balance : Alan Franks

Once, when I was over among the estuaries

And the storeys of the sky were climbing

Deck-like from the storeys of the sea,

I clocked the rising steeple of the church,

The well-to-do one built on the wealth of wool,

Its narrowing to the point of prayerful hands

Conveying upwards this, its standing tithe,

In thanks for what is given and hope for more.

Then, as I was turning to the treeline,

Past the pollards and the poplar tops

A falcon, darkly bright on the air’s high ledge,

Furled and flung its form so sharply down

It turned from hurled rag to beak-tipped bow

To self-releasing cross-bolt, plummet-dart,

Gaming gravity’s laws and locking to

The clear sight of the white dove of its preying.

All day the sea lay rising like a sheet

Shaken at the window, and the sky

Towed in its castellated city of cloud

From whose parapets then stooped angry cataracts,

Swelling the sea still further into landswill.

Evening raised its shades from all the corners                        

Till the stark chambers of the eye’s mind

Drew blindness and the day was won and lost.

The Dog Days of Dumfriesshire : Jean Atkin



23rd July
A bee flies under
thin weave of grass
where she lies flat, 15.
It disturbs the spiny seedheads
and flies on. It seems
so purposeful.

tall sky        duck-egg blue           scud cloud           winds easing


30th July
The dog sleeps dreamless
by the garden pond.
The life of frogs
is full of luck.
She peers below the marigolds,
uncovers a dim paradise of beetles.

long sky        arsenic green          with mottled cirrus         humid

7th August
Chicken shit and lichens dot
dry concrete flags. Self-seeded
into the cracks, the tender
leaves of columbines.
She paints her toenails
carefully above the dust.

bowl sky       Palnackie blue      cloudless       hot

19th August
Lawn grass too long uncut
is bent, bead-spangled.
A droplet quivers at a tractor
gone burring up the brae -
and then it stills.
There’s no reason to wait around.

cranefly sky     hammered silver        high altitude nimbus      no wind

23rd August
The baler’s stuttered rap
loses ground to the tow
of a warm front spooling
out of the Atlantic. She goes back
to watching a red kite turn
like a thought on a thermal, before storms.

galvanised sky       loss-grey     mares’ tails         heavy rain


Jean Atkin’s new collection How Time is in Fields available from: www.indigodreams.co.uk


Under Protection : Donald Adamson



You see Screel as you look 

across the Urr from Scaur. She lives

in the goblin country

of your dreams – a kindly godmother,

wonderfully well turned out

in her mile-wide

silky grey-blue skirt.

She notices everything

between her and you, she inspects

fields, river and sky

to keep you safe, to make sure

as you roam across her landscape 

that you don’t catch anything

you shouldn't. Only words.

Covid Voices : Valerie Sinason


Dot was safeguarded at home
Each morning her bruises opened
Like purple flowe

People have always
Washed their hands of her

*

This is the way we wash our hands
Wash our hands, wash our hands

*

“Poor little Corona virus,”
Explained the tired mother,
Wiping her raw scrubbed hands,
“He’s only looking for friends to join
But they don’t want him”

“Just like me” says the child,
“Can I play with him?”

*

Jayden kissed his knife goodbye
Admired his face on its
Polished steel
He had a better weapon now
Easier to use and easy to kill

Put the knife back in the kitchen drawer
Goodbye to blood and DNA
Just a little cough, a little lethal cough
No Old Bill to frisk it away

*

Alf joked he’d bagged
A top university bird
Because she had a PPE

Social Distancing
Self-Isolation
He loved his new vocabulary
(Much snappier, he thought,
Than P and F and C)

*

Joe swaggered
Down the middle of the road
Pummelling his thin chest
Like a miniature Tarzan

Slow cars weaved fearfully around him

“Go Jo”, shouts Tequila Tamsin
“You’re King of the Road”

*

Ed jumped Trace in the kitchen
“Now I’m shielding you”
He jangled the door keys
“Can’t wait for lockdown!
What about a baby girl called
Quarantina?,”

*

Coughing Colin
One foot in the coffin
Has never felt such joy

Wherever he goes
People disappear

“I wish I’d had this as a boy”

*

Clap hands for Mummy
Talk to her on the phone
She’s looking after Nanna
In the old age home

*

Glorious Gabby
The selfie queen 
Turns on the camera
In order to be seen

“I am no body”
She cries to the condomised computer
“I am nobody”

*

“You said I could only have my tablet
For one hour a day
And now you want me to do school on it all day”
Grumbled Ali

*

At midnight
Our Covid Cinderella
Walks to her hospital shift
It is no ball
She lacks a mask and gown

*

Mara the cleaner 
Scrubs the Care Home floors
Sticky old crumbs of cake and jelly

Around her 
Elegant politicians 
soft-soaping their words
from the widescreen telly

*

Moira claps for the NHS
Each time she has her bath
“They helped me when I
Got the clap”,
She laughs

*

How orphaned the country feels
How desolate it has been
Needing the brave over-90’s
Captain Tom, Attenborough and the Queen

*

This is the way the world ends
My love and I with a boiled egg and slice of toast
And Waitrose unable to provide deliveries
And the earth and sea and sun and stars 
And all the creatures therein
Just carrying on effortlessly
Without us 


The Apple’s Song : Edwin Morgan

April 27, 2020 would have been Edwin Morgan’s 100th Birthday. The Bakehouse celebrates his Centenary with one of his poems and a message from his friend Liz Lochhead  - Makar, or National Poet of Scotland between 2011 and 2016.  

‘The best thing about being a writer,’ says Liz, ‘is you can be anybody apart from yourself – anything apart from yourself. You can give anything you like a voice all of its own. If you are willing - as he was always - to let your imagination really listen deep. And to play… ‘The Apple’s Song' is one of my favourite of Eddie’s poems’ 

 

Tap me with your finger, 

rub me with your sleeve, 

hold me, sniff me, peel me 

curling round and round 

till I burst out white and cold 

from my tight red coat 

and tingle in your palm 

as if I’d melt and breathe 

a living pomander 

waiting for the moment 

of joy when you lift me 

to your mouth and crush me 

and in taste and fragrance 

I race through your head 

in my dizzy dissolve.

 
I sit in the bowl 

in my cool corner 

and watch you as you pass 

smoothing your apron. 

Are you thirsty yet? 

My eyes are shining.


Much more along with full details of what is planned for his centenary year can be found on the Edwin Morgan Trust website: edwinmorgantrust.com

   

 

 

Intruders : A C Clarke

 

To the bull nothing makes sense beyond

his wives, his children. And grass.

The grass changes. He doesn't know why.

The wives too at times. The children are there

and not there. He knows the smell of the byre,

of those who feed him. All else is mystery,

witness these strangers stumbling over tussocks

at the back of his herd. His warning bellow

didn’t stop them. He turns his great head

Turns back to the grass but can't settle.

Turns his head again. Wants things to stay as they are.