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

Eggshells and fontanelles : Finola Scott

I bring eggs from the farm
in brown paper bag,
no protection at all.
Free range they're stuck 
with fluff feathers.

Pale as thick cream, so tiny.
My palm reaches to stroke
newborn curves.
Thin strongboxes
cradle ripening treasure.

With sharp taps of spoons
my wee ones scoop past
membranes to silky whites 
sun bright yolks.
Bantie gifts.

Published in Atrium  Spring  2020

Unburied : Finola Scott

Room 24, El Museo Canaria, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Wide-eyed they catch my gaze,
gape-mouthed I mimic them -
shocked still
in their shackled skins.

We snatch them, 
grass bound, leathered.
They are no longer rush-wrapped
or hard-held by the memory of lava. 

We rouse them 
from deep-time slumber 
unpeel their husks,
crack them raw like clams.

We examine stomach contents
expose young sinews, wombs.
We place labels on each case.

Curated curios now not sisters,
lovers, daughters, bairns.

Painting Snow : Angela Topping

Leaving the paper white is not enough.
Chinese White deadens the picture. 
Payne’s Grey or watery Windsor Blue
can help with shadows under trees. 
But how to depict March snow
caught in the ruffles of the daffodil
or drowning snowdrops until only the green
is left poking up through a new fall?

Dead leaves are not hard to draw
but when they shrivel and curl
under hard frost, and become laced in silver
they defy Yellow Ochre and Burnt Umber. 
Snow blasted into the bark of silver birches
is hard to differentiate 
from their own glorious specklement.

Snow reinvents a landscape  
hiding its blemishes as though 
they have been quietly erased in the night.
Perfection is difficult to paint. 

Close : Angela Topping

Our neighbour is dying.
Last month his wife died. 
Cancer was a guest in their house
far too short a time for him,
too long for her. 

We had never been inside their house,
nor they in ours. 
The neighbourliness of friendly hellos
difficulties of parking
yappiness of their golden spaniel
decorations on their front door
for birthdays, Christmassess
and all the other fine things
they will not see again - 
that was the extent of our relationship. 

Lockdown made a piazza
of our turning circle, our neighbour
centre stage with his guitar
his wife in a headscarf from chemo
We kept our responsible distance - 
Bye Bye Miss American Pie
and We’ll Meet Again

We lined the close for her funeral,
now send him messages of cheerfulness. 
What else could neighbours do
who never exchanged a hug
nor held him when he wept. 

Before the messages arrived
a private ambulance came
while we were all eating dinner,
took our neighbour away
silently to the mortuary.

To the Far Side : Peter Roberts

I tell myself this pond should be enough;
why struggle vainly for poetry from within?

It presents its small beauties and dramas
profusely to my writing room window,
my gaze hypnotised by the cadmium blaze 
of whin bowing to its rippled twin,
heavy with its buttery coconut scent.

Here comes petty officer robin on patrol,
mounts the same perches on every watch,
puffs his red breast to assert his minor rank,
ignored by chaffinches fossicking the reeds
for soft furnishings for the second brood.

And, ah, the swallows, arriving on the dot,
swoop to dip and drink, climb, circle,
swoop again, like a frenzied dogfight 
for a few minutes, and then are gone,
leaving a spirograph of ripples, fading.

But a crow, stalking the pond’s bank —
its cocked black eye bright in its black nest,
spearing into the reeds to pull out a small frog, 
stabbing, butchering, down in two gulps —
draws my eye beyond to a submarine 

sidling up the loch; and to the far side
where, below the sunlit mountain tops,
the forest is shadowed and mute, a cloak
silencing the land beneath, masking its shapes
and the broken remnants of lives lived on it.

Cold afternoon rain comes, stippling the water. 
The birds are silent now. The rain stops, 
and bubbles rise from the hidden world below.
This pond should be enough, but my heart insists
it’s inwards to the silenced places I need to go.

From April's Commonplace Book : Debasish Lahiri

          I

Deaf window, 

       Swears the world has gone quiet

While the sun gorges on its human diet.

          II

Silence in the hot lane

        Sleepy, dying, or on the wane,

Hears the shrieks of a song:

There were vultures in the Sun, all along.

          III

Summer abhors the dying.

          See how its banner of Bougainvillea is furled

And the Koel sings of undying beauty

         Round the fever of the sick living.

          IV

A time to abandon good friends:

   Hands, limp, heavy hands, hang from branches of dreams 

In moon salons and star bazaars – 

   Is this the best hand I have got?

April, deal the cards!

          V

Ennui of lawless winds

   Rummaging through fossils of sighs

Dust has muddied the lover’s tear,

   He thinks it is death,

And life yet to be.

          VI

In Spring a body, prim as a flower,

   Shook the cold morning hands of a doctor of physic,

They were in a hospital ---

   Down the hall

In a quiet ambulance memory lay dead,

Its stench awful.

Doctor and the beautiful cadaver

Looked at each other,

No one knew why they had come there at all. 


26th April 2021

Wall or Wings : Shanta Acharya

A wall is an idea defining the limit of our perception.

Our skin is a living wall, each cell pulsating with vision, 

 

tells us who we are. Invisible walls protect us.

The earth’s atmosphere wraps it in a shawl of gases.

 

It is not for nothing homes need walls, niches, arches,

doors, windows for dreams, laughter, disappointments.

 

Walls within walls are pilgrim souls, keeper of secrets.

 

Walls revel in disguises, come in many shapes and sizes,

prefer to remain anonymous, take several aliases. 

 

Being a wall means perpetually adjusting your vision,

yet a wall is never beyond redemption.

 

When a wall lies between you and your dreams,

turn it into something else, let it take wings.


Nothing More Real Than You : Shanta Acharya

The world may appear to be your oyster,

remember it is not yours to keep or conquer.

 

You may never discover why you are here,

if you have a special place in the universe.

There may be planets inhabited by creatures

infinitely more intelligent and conscious than us.

 

By the time you figure out most things you believed

in are flawed, half a century will have disappeared.

 

Things change faster than you can imagine,

leaving you running in the same spot quick as you can.

 

No point in prising open your priceless treasure

with a sword, nothing worth having is won by force.

 

Build therefore your own world. If you start early 

you might learn to make a home of it eventually.

 

Explore the vast continents of yourself –

nothing in this world is real, nothing more real than you.




From What Survives Is The Singing (2020). www.indigodreams.co.uk/shanta-acharya

wild flower : John Glenday

bird’s foot trefoil

look at us for once, just for a moment; look at us
down here, but please don’t look down on us,
though we’re most ordinary and commonplace
and all seem quite alike and probably not
wanted, not here, not in your backyard; look at
us so that we might begin to grow into ourselves,
to become real for you – the veins of blood along
the blossom, the cupped petals, the downy
leaves; don’t glance; gaze into us with a regard
that allows us to believe we must truly exist, as
you do, because we observe you with the
intensity of the flower; don’t hurry, it will prove
worthwhile; look at us as we deserve to be seen;
it won’t be a waste of time; in fact, it might just
change your life.

the bar : John Glenday

that morning, from our bench by the ranges,

we followed a single north sea wave

driving upriver, too far away to touch, 

 

too close to bear, and at the bar, because 

the shallows gather there, watched how it rose 

above itself, proud and triumphant, as i did once,

 

until the wind, that white blade carding

the winter from the firth, cut through,

feathering its crest to a brief astonished haze

 

then sent it withering back towards whatever 

it had always been, or where it came from.

Cave Painting : Kitty Donnelly

Pass me the horse hair brush steeped in colours of earth.

I will paint you our beginnings.

In sleep, you flee from leopards, bison, wolves.

Harness their dream-spirits,

tame them on the walls, and you’ll rest fearless.

Your loss is charcoal-black;

your anger – a quiver of hematite

arrows; the calcite-white of your silence/a curtain between us.

Daughter, we can’t linger in this cave-light.

Time’s a virus plundering our settlements.

We must immortalise our hands

in ochre, umber, malachite.

 

Kitty's collection The Impact of Limited Time is available from Indigo Books: www.indigodreams.co.uk/kitty-donnelly