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. 

The Colour of Heather : Wynn Wheldon

 

I imagine you alone

with your enthusiasm

and your sturdy bag on the platform

wondering where the hell I am. 

The meagre northern light is fading

and it is getting cold.

The heat rises in my face.

There’s a knot of something

beneath my heart

like indigestion, but not.

I imagined you naked

but could not see myself so.

I feared your yes, I feared your no.

What colour is heather

in the lightless night?

 

Frog : Gina Mercer

 

Pool-dwelling, fresh-water selkie.

Sewn from scraps of leaf-bright silk.

Skin is permeable.

Devoid of tail, teeth, claws, spikes, and stings.

Swims at depths of vulnerability and ambiguity.

See: Poet.

 

The New Old Age : Hugh McMillan

 

I am looking at the contents 

of my coat pocket:

a train ticket, a pencil 

plucked from the playground,  

a receipt for a steak pie 


and large glass 

of Sauvignon blanc,

and I think I should put 

these on a shelf as symbols 

of a lost and easy age 


of innocence. 

It is enough almost 

to make you weep 

this sacred detritus,

rubbish pregnant now


with such meaning.

When we emerge 

blinking into the future 

with our long hair,

our chipped teeth,


our bandaged specs,

will those months 

of self-help, yoga, 

soda bread and scrabble 

swell our brains


to the size of a new world?

Will poetry have seen us through?

I think, jealous

of their high-fiving freedom 

through our long days


of want and envy, 

we will swarm out to find a rook

to strangle while nature 

scatters with a collective sigh 

of here’s this lot on the piss again.

Blackbirds : Wynn Wheldon

 

A lover from long ago rings with news: 

Blackbirds are breeding in her garden.

Three chicks, all mouth, nesting in the ivy.

I am kept abreast of developments.

Her shape beneath my hands, once everything,

is numb to memory, the sounds of our bodies'

wantings and pleasures echo beyond earshot.

Young love’s a mayfly, all buzz, until spent.

But affection isn’t idle, sets to 

rebuilding the past, so that scattering

such as walking by the river at midnight,

late Sunday breakfasts, laughter, games, mere talk

- unconsidered off-cuts of young passion -

is bedded down in the earth of passing time,

and in due course the spreading tendrils bind.

The ivy clasps the fence, new tendernesses born.

 

Two Worlds : Hugh McMillan

 

I follow my eyes to the hills 

and the swallows spelling words 

in the air. No more than 

twenty miles that way 

is the sea: we are in a sleeve

of land between two worlds. 

Here it is Spring. The girls move 

easily through the woods,

they were born in this well of light, 

but at night we watch a digger

shoving the cheap coffins 

of the countless dead 

into a builder’s trench, the poor,

the dispossessed, the loveless.

Drone high in a dank New York 

afternoon we are staring 

once more down the cuff 

of history to the bone beneath.

Eritrea, Darfur, Elmhurst Hospital.

A tide of negligence and cruelty

too high and ageless to resist.

We switch the TV off, drink tea.

Tomorrow the anemone will shine

like tiny stars. The birds have always

sung at Auschwitz. 

Pre-Corona Breakfast : A C Clarke

 

Each night I set the scene, knives, spoons, bowls

in the same order. The table

waits through our sleep for us to find

things in their place, and we do.

I know each morning

I'll feel the soft bulk of a grapefruit

in the hollow of my palm

with my left hand

slice open hoarded sunshine,

slipping the knife's curved blade

between pith and flesh. Winter or summer

I'll switch the light on, you'll bring in

the weather and the news

from the corner shop. Your tea

will cool in the stained pot.

Day to day the pattern renews

deepens in colour, texture, like the weave

of an unfinished carpet. Were it not

for the angry world I might forget

to be surprised by all this having.