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.  Items are in the order of most recent first, or use our index to see a list of items arranged alphabetically by author.
Alphabetical Index by Author

BONNIE AND CLYDE (1967) directed by Arthur Penn : Alan Price

 

I dispatched my parents to The Tunnel Road Picturedrome
to see Bonnie and Clyde. What they found was Gold Diggers
of 1933 – a film within a film where Ginger Rogers sang,
“We’re in the money.” Clyde sat in the back row: furious
they’d killed a man. Bonnie sighed. “If you boys want to
talk why don’t you all go outside?” Despite all the chatter
in their flea-pit my parents (who were never in any money)
stuck with the stalls: watching kids rob banks and healthily
shoot at rednecks. Arthur, I thought they’d hate your film
but they loved it. That balletic massacre of an ending: how
Bonnie and impotent Clyde writhed in orgasmic displeasure
as bullets ripped through clothes and flesh. “It was horrible.”
said mother, unfazed. On that night screen violence, cocoa
and toast brought me closer to Mum and Dad. I’d seen
the film yonks before. My audience even younger, than the
Barrow gang, with not a bloody-minded oldie in sight.

 

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.