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. 

Beethoven in a Beetroot Field : Elspeth Brown

 

Beethoven’s great- great- grandfather bends his aching back

to howk another beetroot from the row, straightens,

stretches to the sky, hums an old folk song, rearranges it

then bends to grapple with the next row,

lowering his tone to match the earth. Row by row

he makes his tune. Remembers it to sing his son to sleep.

By morning it is a pattern in his head.

He hums close to the fresh green beetroot leaves,

he knows nothing of notes but adds a canopy of song,

like a cumulus cloud around his creation,

rise and fall, reach and bend,

Voice rising to greet the mid-day sun.

 

The Coming Dark : Bernard Kops

 

Wake up, open the window

I tell myself.

I do as told and turn my head.

My wife, my love asleep in another land

with her slight smile

she inhabits.

Darling, it is light but the dark is coming,

I whisper but never heard.

I hear my heart pounding.

The window scares as I open it.

The wind is howling and magpies sing somewhere

a song of chattering fear.

And no one is about.

I fear that the clouds will explode.

‘Can I wake her?’ I shout,

‘No’, I reply.

Love can be a bastard.

We must run somewhere!

No, no there is nowhere.

We are all destroying ourselves.

Oh children, oh loves,

laugh somewhere.

Only silence laughs.

The world is dying.

They are gone.

Remember!

What have we done to deserve such fear?

I close the window and rush to the bed

and shutter my eyes.

I feel her hot arms

and the silence of her legs.

She turns over

and I touch my wet face

and laugh my cry.


Incident : Jenny Mitchell


I’ve come to see what remains of my son

before they wash the pavement.

There are flowers sticking out of a fence

where strangers have paid tribute –

dying leaves: a golden mass of light

still in their plastic.

As I approach the concrete melted into blood

a yellow-blue board screams:

Fatal                Gang               In Confidence

I step away from the cracks and see the guts

have said too much, each drop a part of him I knew:

the sheet where he was born

a nose bleed on a white, white shirt

outline of a boy with three knife wounds.

Why is it my child locked in an airless box

and not that man, frowning in his car?

Or her, a girl I do not know

and did not push into this world?

My blood has fallen on the ground.

I am the blood torn from his heart.

These strangers want to help me stand

but where he fell, this pavement

frames me gentle enough.


from Her Lost Language (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2019) 

Jenny Mitchell - Indigo Dreams

Twitter: @jennymitchellgo

Ring : Pauline Prior-Pitt

 

Did Poseidon's mistress

cast this off after a tiff,

the weight of it sinking                                      

into their tangle bed,

tossed up in last night's storm

to lie half hidden

in a cluster of kelp?

This scoured shell, polished

to a knuckle-duster, is not

a circle for the third finger

of my left hand,

but I wear it anyway.

Then cast it back into the sea

in case she has regrets,

in case he asks for it,

in case a knuckle duster

on her finger

might make all the difference.

 

Song for a Former Slave : Jenny Mitchell

 

Her dress is made of music

humming through the hem

high notes in the seams.

A rousing hymn

adorns the bodice

with sheer lace.

The heart is stitched with loud amens

the back a curving shape

of hallelujahs.

She’s proud enough to hold

her own applause

tucked in a pleated waist.

The skirt sways freely

when she walks

to show there are no chains.

Her dress is made of music.

 

from Her Lost Language (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2019)

There’s a Music : Adam Horovitz

 

Listen. There’s a music in your head

that is not some half-remembered bar

of radio confection. No ear-worm, this.

No broadcast soaked up by the soft

core of childhood. It sits among synapses

as a code of scars, a morse-mapped monument.

This music is made from the friction of living;

birdsong; the passage of light at a certain

time of day; the first touch of another’s skin;

that moment when everything seemed exact.

Built upon pain and plenty, this concentrated

sound is everything you know and understand

tuned up to ecstasy. Written and unwritten

in the key of hope. Yet it is not complete.

Now, having listened, you must sing a tender

approximation of the tune (as sweetly as you can)

until all the people who have helped it build

are drawn to you. Then you must dance.

 

Beyond the Gates : Adam Horovitz

 

What we took from the garden

was love, for love is knowledge

and the knowledge of love

is a bitter seed in the belly of a bird.

       Expelled over new lands

the seed falls as love into the soil,

casts out slender roots to grow

and seed and grow again,

carried further and further

     from the garden

in unending chains of fruiting trees.

The trees hold the garden as memory

in a lover’s embrace, as the sun

is sucked by leaves, consumed

     in adoration and exchange.

And age becomes knowledge

becomes love as their trunks swell

over time into rings, and each ring

binds us to the garden because

     what we took from the garden

was love, and love was the garden

and it is the garden that keeps us

breathing each other in

here in the cold land beyond its gates

     as it pumps through our hearts

             like blood.