Image by Jane Burn
You heard it before you reached
our house, it rocked & roared.
Mammy’s favourite tunes belted
from her radio – Workers’ Playtime every day.
She was the soundtrack to our lives.
Red-lipped, pearly-nailed she vamped
the upright piano – never in the corner –
rolling cares away down Blueberry Hill.
Tomorrow was always Que Sera, Sera.
French-pleated, frilly-aproned, marabou-muled
she shone for the only boy in the world.
Laughing she crooned and cleaned
her home in Carolina, nothing could be finer.
Other wild weeks she’d storm and whisk
that man right out of her hair.
The oven’s mouth dropped open
as she beat meringues snowy for tea.
Dancing home after my divorce
I took a walk on the wild side, heard her still.
Got along without you before I met you,
gonna get along without you now.
My heart beats harmony.
By Finola Scott
Aye loupin an winna bide at paiss
yir mezmerezin mi.
Mothbraith an a haidfuhla wunder
showin abdy the world wi a sheen on it,
tabula rasa yit ti be screivt on,
yir blottin pipper sookin aathin up.
Yi hivna met Dickens yit, Rabbie or Keats.
They aa hid the gift o the gab, levwires like yirsel.
When yir up yir up, words festoonin roon an roon
yir tendrilt haid, a femly o bizzen bees,
nae ehdea o the bigger pictur yit,
o Glencoe, Dunblane an Lockerbie,
seeven seeven an nine eleeven,
aa thon yill meet later.
Yir cunnin, fleh as a roostie fox,
an massel, pinkiewrapt beh yi
dinna mind ata. Noo, wi
cobault een ahent the shutters yir
awa wi the faeries,
sleepin the sleep o the
no quite si innocent.
By Fran Baillie
A lack of integrity
Turquoise splashes twirled against the sunlight,
sparkle-topped the pool. She smiled at me,
smacked tiny palms against the surface. A far away
ripple drifted closer – the mummies frenzied,
pointed. Tiny toddler poo ominously submarined
beside us. A poolside lifeguard stroked
over, crisis-puffed. Synchronised evacuation, foamed
hysteria from the mummies whose offspring didn’t pass
waste products in unexpected places. I looked
into her green-blue anxious eyes,
tutted along with all the rest.
By Nikki Robson
At the back of the top shelf of the china cupboard
your Thomas the Tank Engine egg cup, last used
twenty years ago, sends me on a ruthless hunt
for other memorabilia of my favourite rock musician.
I find your Animals of Farthing Wood collection
on the bottom shelf of the bookcase in your room,
the rainbow-coloured baby’s waistcoat I crocheted,
hedging my bets before I knew you’d be a boy,
your eighth size violin bought for Suzuki lessons
before you knew you wanted to be a bass player.
The misshapen mug you made me in Pottery.
I put each item back where I found them, take
an old tea set and box of 20th century novels
to the charity shop, leave without looking round.
By Sharon Larkin Jones
now you’re seven
you say you only fall on soft things now
and i say good
and you say why
and i say that’s a whole lot better than falling on hard things
and you say like what
and i say like pavements
and you say or axes
and i say or axes
By Gillian Mellor