INDIGO DREAMS

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MIND THE GAP

Born in Edinburgh, Dorothy Baird studied Russian and French at Durham University. Her most memorable moments in her twenties include teaching English for a year in Moscow during the Communist Soviet era, travelling to India and Nepal for seven months and meeting her husband to be on a bike in the Trossachs in Scotland.

 

She returned to live in her home city in 1989 and has worked there at various times as an English teacher, literacy tutor, Development Officer for Steiner Schools, and most consistently, as a creative writing tutor. She's been leading writing groups in the community and mental health settings for over twenty five years now and, as part of the Scottish Book Trust's Live Literature Scheme, has given workshops and readings to adults and children all over Scotland.

 

In 2009 she founded the Young Edinburgh Writers (YEW) a creative writing group for teenagers in the city and ran it for five years before handing it on. In addition to the publication 'Muffins and Musings', the group created an innovative installation in Edinburgh's Central Library for six weeks of a messy teenager's bedroom where all the furnishings and furniture had the group's poetry and writings handwritten on them.

 

Dorothy juggles her commitment to writing with her work as a Human Givens psychotherapist. She  has three grown up children.    

 

Her poetry has been widely published in magazines and anthologies and highly commended in competitions. Her first collection, Leaving the Nest, was published in 2007 by Two Ravens Press. 'Mind the Gap' is her second full collection.

 

Dorothy writes to make sense of a world that moves too fast. Of a world where children grow up into challenging teenagers and leave home; where death is as much part of existence as an orca whale on a Hebridean ferry; where questions of the meaning of life are unanswerable but need to be asked; where the landscape we live in has a profound effect on our relationship with ourself and with others.

 

Writing is a way of helping to slow time down and give her space to reflect. In writing to prize open the feelings arising from experiences, she hopes to come to a clearer understanding of herself and what it means to be alive.

 

 

DOROTHY BAIRD

 

MIND THE GAP

 

ISBN 978-1-909357-85-3

 

Indigo Dreams Publishing

 

Poetry

 

138 x 216mm

 

74 pages

 

£8.99 + P&P UK

 

PUB: 23 NOVEMBER 2015

 

 

ORDER HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

To my son who wanted to be a bird

 

To become a blackbird

first you must rise daily at dawn

and learn how morning enters your bones.

 

Then you need to study the significance

of gold, the history of black,

and write a treatise on why this bird

wears shadows on its wings

and sunrise on its beak.

 

When you notice your heart dances

at the flick of a worm,

you are nearly there. If you spy

the slink and pad of cat

with a flutter of distress,

you come closer still

 

and when you stand on the rusted swing

and sing as if the whole world was song;

when time becomes the wind

ruffling the nape of your neck

and you long to stretch your arms

into its lift and fly

                             – then, my dear,

you will be more bird than boy

and my loss

will be the morning's gain.  

 

 

Veteran

 

They called him a hero

but put him on a waiting list for a house.

 

They called him a hero

but sacked him when his temper blew.

 

They called him a hero

but when he felt the night fracture

 

and the park in town become a desert

leaping with IEDs it was four months

for an appointment to get help.

 

He thinks he is the only hero

for whom a seashore of gannets

is too much killing

 

and starlings murmurating in the cold sky

mirror smoke billowing

after a bomb.

 

 

Horgabost

 

A gale force wind

wrestles all night with our tent,

tugging guy ropes and pegs,

whipping its poles, snapping

the flap of nylon, as if

determined to wrest it

from the grass and blast it ,

over the white sands

towards Beinn Dhubh

like a belle-dressed ghost

or a Hebridean angel

jangling Celtic death songs

in the ropes of its lyre.  

The Poetwoman  

after Pie Corbett

 

The poetwoman carries her poems

in the pocket of her pinny.

 

She stirs one in the pot of soup,

slips one in between the cheese

of her children's sandwiches,

hangs one out to dry beside the socks.

 

She stitches poems in the bones of leaves

so they open in the hedgerows in the spring

 

slides one in the purse of the tired woman

at the checkout, scatters them

like daisies in the park, folds them

in the biscuits in the old people's home,

tucks one under a swan's wide wing.

 

When the sun sets, she shakes her pinny

over the cat's dark fur, so any unfinished

poems fall into its warmth. When the cat

pads out into the night, her lines

brush against bushes and walls, attach themselves

like burrs to be read by moonlight.    

 

 

Poetwoman explores the nature of time

 

1

She stirs the past

watches stories surface

 

remember when

remember when

 

those moments where a choice

or chance decision

meant she veered towards

the point that's now,  leaving

untold possibilities

floating in the mix.

 

If only if only  

 

She stirs the future too, but that's so huge

she stops. There's only so much uncertainty

she can cope with

and her arm grows tired.

 

 

2

She's seen on TV

how the starlight

we believe in

is the last signs

of its dying. So

 

it's puzzling out there,

where time is a word

unutterable  

 

in the silence

of so much space

 

where perhaps there is

a parallel poetrywoman

in her rain-stained shed

contemplating stars and stories,

living in the only place she can,

where pigeons coo in the sycamore tree

and a squirrel skitters off the roof.

Mind the Gap is a celebration of family relationships and our attempts to make sense of what it is to be human. Its poems explore the spaces between ourselves and those we love, the gaps between our imagination and reality, and the distance between ourselves and the natural world of birds, animals, oceans and rocks.

 

 

 

 

“There are poems of loss here, but more of gain, of the transformations of children into adults, and the necessary adjustments parents must make. There are also poems of place, of the East and West coasts of Scotland, and of the natural world and its inhabitants. Dorothy shows a confidence in her use of language, and in formatting poems to give emphasis to pauses.”

Colin Will  

 

“Dorothy Baird’s second collection is a delight. In tune with nature, the poems explore what it means to be human, acknowledging and accepting major life events as part of an evolving pattern.  I was particularly drawn to the character of Poetwoman.” Eleanor Livingstone    

 

“Dorothy Baird catches moments as a photographer might, though always in 3D. Whether she is writing about birds and trees or family relationships – and sometimes both themes intertwined –  there’s depth as well as richness in and between the lines. This is an immensely readable collection.”                                                                                                                                                              Susan Jane Sims

 

DB amend

Friday 26th July 2013

 

I write the date as if its precision

might fix this moment, here

in a tent in Arisaig –

 

where I hear wind

bellowing in the pine trees, flapping

the rigging of ropes, the sails

 

of the door – but why?

When nothing around me

is still: not the clouds roiling

 

across the sky, not the grass

whipping like crazy on dunes, not

the waves pummelling sand, not

 

the children, tossed and tipsied

by cold water and shrieking

like gulls, not my heart, out

 

of the wind in the tent

of my body, beating

Let go, Let go?

MTG web