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

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.

 

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.