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. 

Corona Courage : Donald Adamson

 

Corona is buzzing

closer and closer

like a persistent wasp

with me as the jam pot

while across the way

an old, decrepit house

is socially distanced

from trendy neighbours.

It has seen everything,

fears nothing.


At Summerlee : Donald Adamson

 

I’m scuffling brown leaves

with my grandson. The branches are bare

with just a wizened pennant or two

still hanging on.

A half-mile stretch of canal

gleams, beckons, bends

and vanishes.

Our pace is slow, suiting us both

as we move hand in hand

each of us into our own

distance.

 

Heart Crime : Alan Franks

 

As a young man I stole a heart-shaped locket

From an old woman’s shelf.

My hand just swept it off and into a pocket

As if I were someone else.

Now, as then, I don’t know why I did it.

Because it was there, I guess,

And because I’d decided her grandson was an idiot

Whose friendship made me embarrassed.

It was silver and cold. It opened, and in it

Was a lock of grey hair

Which turned me into a grave-robber for a minute.

I wished it wasn’t there.

The dreams that came to get me, you wouldn’t believe:

First I’m shot like a pheasant;

Next, my side is slit by the terrible scythe

Of the grey moon’s crescent.

I hide it in the loft, the wall, the wainscot.

It roves rather than rests,

Like the core matter of a contested conscience,

My secreted priest.

Years go by and my own heart gets nicked –

Just when I think I’ve got her.

Tricksy old love and his haul of stolen tickers

Hung in his hideous abattoir.

I get shot of the locket. Decent price

From an old Brighton associate;

Shut myself from the will to turn out nice

Or, God help us, expiate.

Strange to say, he never opens the piece;

Just puts it on the scales.

The lock must add point-something of an ounce

To the weight of the sale.

All right then dreams, I say, so give me hell

And, scared half to death,

I’m barely feeding into my new love’s shell-like

A single curl of breath.

To all who find in my chest an empty hole

That should be heavy-hearted

I say go estimate the weight of the soul

That parts from the departed.

Nettle Lexicon : Jean Atkin

 

                       i) nettle of the edgelands

So, the nettle dare – will you grip that hairy leaf?

Stand still and rigid for this ordeal

while they stand in a circle and watch your face?

                     ii) nettle of the dens

Sharp flare of white weals rising on your skin,

a dapple of pain you soothe to a green smear

of dockens. Scrub-leaf. In dock, out nettle.

                   iii)   nettle of the beds

Older, gloved and kneeling, you hang and draw the soil

for them, their creamy guts, the hoary coil and pack of them.

Them snapping, whipping back to test you.

 

                     iv) nettle of the gone

O how the nettles do grow behind us, markers

for our wiped-out villages, abandoned farms.

How rife they are in the lost places.


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

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