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

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.



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.