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. 

BREK TIME : Stuart Paterson

Kirkbean 31/03/20


Nae weans loupin, rinnin, skreighin,

plooterin rooon the village schuil at play,

jist unself-isolatin rooks patrollin playgrun,

nebbin, gaitherin an bletherin, daein

whit rook an craw an corbie ayewes dae,

nae thochts o six-fit spacin, jist a gledness

Ah jalouse fae haein sic a tuimit place in

which tae be thirsels an tell the schuil

tae bide inby a while, tae ring nae bells.

 

BREAK TIME

Kirkbean 31/03/20

No children jumping, running, screaming,
splashing around the village school at play,
just unself-isolating rooks patrolling playground,
being nosy, gathering and yapping, doing
what rook and crow and raven always do,
no thoughts of six-foot spacing, just a gladness
I surmise from having such an empty place in
which to be themselves and tell the school
to stay inside for now, to ring no bells.


Her Favourite Line : Peter Hamilton

 

She’s always had great difficulty relating to people. 
(She refers to them as‘Humans’.) She found social situations
Especially the legendary Islington dinner parties  

More than awkward; more like hellish in fact.
Some occasions were worse than others; I always knew
Things were going badly for her if she started talking too loudly
 
Whilst desperately gulping down far too much red wine
And that the situation had really nose-dived if she started quoting 
T S Eliot’s ‘The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock’

‘My favourite line of poetry’ she would insist to suddenly-wary guests 
‘I should have been a pair of ragged claws …’  

It never made her any more sympathetic and I sensed 
It was time to leave, even though the pudding might be still to come.
And I was also aware that it could well be a difficult night ahead;

She could wake in the early hours, still drunk, with a migraine,
Start vomiting - or worse - I might have to sit her on the toilet
Clutching a red plastic bucket while she vented copiously from both ends

‘I never want to see anybody ever again!’ she would moan.

But she has been a lot better since we moved out to Orpington

We don’t see anybody now. (Sometimes it’s good 
to go all secret and just dislike everybody) 

She loves going for long apparently aimless tramps on her own 
Together with her five dogs right up onto the North Downs, 
Trudging along in an old parka through the sudden cold rains 

If ‘Humans’ approach the galloping playful Airedale she’ll rap out 
The ruthless command ‘Leave it, Darius! You don’t know where it’s been!’

It’s become her favourite line.


Mortimer at the Gates : Peter Hamilton


Although Mortimer wished to leave the world behind 

He had only the vaguest notion of his ultimate destination

 

He no longer thought that Socialism had much to offer Humankind

(‘I used to be very Left-wing.’ he would boast, whilst in secret

 

He thought it had been a big mistake to get rid of the grammar schools)

He himself often bitterly regretted having given up Latin. 

 

He taught in a big comprehensive school in south-east London.

Near the river. He could see the grey line of the river.

 

Sometimes he ventured out along the old sea-wall at night

Onto the North Kent marshes, looking towards Tilbury Power Station  

 

With its two huge chimneys, each topped with a red warning light. 

They stood like a gateway to the ocean.

 

Sometimes at Low Tide he’d gather bits of driftwood

To light a fire in the cold wind … unwilling to go home.


At The Port : Stuart Paterson

Carsethorn 26-03-20

Most days I walk here, not being

pot of gold but more a canvas

needing blanked, repainted soon

with nothing less than what the colours

of a still & priceless moment hold.

The Carse is harvesting a snell breeze

in among the rotting stake net poles,

foostit lea of long washed piers,

tide-whitened trees discarded on

deserted strands, only farmers

on the land & only Criffel

looking down through fingers gripped

round old eyes promising to water soon

for new lamb, whin, dry thistle, us,

everything we need to think of now

as more than the inevitable.

snell – bitterly cold

foostit – mouldy

Criffel – highest hill in east Galloway

whin – gorse

Turn : Stuart Paterson

 

Amazing, how one birl & look can turn
a life into something more than itself,
how one small parting of lips, hard-earned
& angled for in a thousand breaths

of response, can draw you in, remould
the very essence of what you'll be;
one minute unalive to what this holds,
the next a cosmos of possibility.

How futures change so beautifully & unaided.
Who knows the word on which a world might hang?
The past's a land that's overcultivated;
let's turn & till our future earth by hand.

 

Beyond Criffel : Peter Roberts

for Acky

I’m on the other side of Criffel now.

At Glencaple’s old tobacco quay,

the moonstruck river flows backwards,

a clock unwinding into memory.

The tide spools away from Criffel’s reel,

upstream, threading this other country,

where we climbed Clougha as child’s play,

became infected with longing

for the high fells across the bay.

Followed them north to Grasmoor,

from where Criffel, on a farther shore,

signalled where to go next.

I think of Liatach, running the scree,

our best, our final climb, the last day

it was all aligned, the hill,

you and me, our hill-made mind,

coming down fast in the sun’s last rays.

A fragile freedom, giving way

to a life that led, fifty years on,

beyond Criffel to this riverside,

looking back to those hills of youth

across time’s irreversible tide.

 

Curlew for Christopher : Peter Roberts

 

Your last email arrived with the curlews

the day of spud planting   late   the spuds

and the curlews   after the easterly blast

and I wished your message later still or never

only two or three months you said and I heard

a new acceptance in the way you phrased those words

colder than the spuds’ damp trenches

and the cooor-lee call shivered down my spine

wings folding like angels as they landed

in their water meadow nesting place

spearing me with spectral sounds to the moors

of childhood like spirits of springtime past

whilst the postcards from your migrations

to Baltic summers and the world’s lecture halls

were messengers from possible futures

so leaning into my digging I was held

in perfect balance between root and growth

though I didn’t know it or make the link

until I knew that you and perhaps one day

the curlew would be no more and my world

will be quite unkiltered without you both.

 

The Third Coming : Debasish Lahiri

 

I always come thrice.

I meet the door-bell, --

In my thick carpet-slippers

Warm night coat about my shoulders

That keeps me safe from the quietness

Of night’s disquiet, --

That I have myself sounded,

Winter’s last rags

Are my bone hair

And my feet bruise the memory of this earth

That I walked

All night

All winter

Outside my own door.

I do recognize

The warmth of indoor smile

And the ghoul of cold

Picking its way round the stubble of grimace

Across the breadth

Of the door’s looking glass

On my face.

I see myself

In cities estranged by memory

Under skies endeared by light

Looking up at clouds

And wondering

What I was doing

When light touched earth lightly

On the shoulder

Once

Everyday since

Light came thrice

To rouse

A loneliness

That even my third coming

Does not allay.

 

9th January, 2020