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.
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.
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.
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.
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.