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It has taken root

with the fierceness of the determined,

and prepares to flourish in you

as the apple tree and the plum tree

flourish in your garden


                 from; Fruiting by Dorothy Baird






      Revisiting No. 33

      Dawn at Benares

      Growing Up

     It Never Stops

      The Shape of a Mother


      Wearing My Mother's Pearls


      Wondering about God





1 – BIOGRAPHY:  Dorothy Baird


Dorothy's poetry has been widely published in magazines and anthologies. Her first collection, 'Leaving the Nest' was published by Two Ravens Press and she is currently working on a second collection. Her poem/play for three voices 'Timepieces' was performed as part of TraVerses in the Traverse Theatre Edinburgh. She has tutored creative writing groups and workshops in the community, and in mental health settings, for over twenty years now and is the founder and tutor of the Young Edinburgh Writers, established in 2009, whose installation, A Room with Our View,  blended poetry and bedroom furnishings and was displayed in the Edinburgh's Central Library for six weeks this year. She has three children and is also a Human Givens psychotherapist.







Revisiting No. 33


Her home was up a clutter of stairs,

a twist of darkness, where the tap tap

of her stick tipped your spine.

Black skirts. Black shawl.

Fingers like heather roots.

The wind lists now at the glass,

unpicks the paint, scatters cherry blossom

from the trees folk used to say

should have been rowans,

and there’s nothing there to show

the shiver of air

that hung around her door

– those clenched-heart dares

to ring her bell and run away.

It was said she never ate, it was said

she ate the dust, it was said

she smothered children,

it was said she knew the small talk

of the moon – so many words

chased us along the street

till we’d hurtle in a heap

behind a hedge

and believe

and not believe each other.



Dawn at Benares


Darkness. A drumming of women

slapping and whacking

dirt from clothes. Knee-deep

in the Ganges, suds floating

on the black water like flowers.

There is no sign. No movement

of the earth that asks for change

but change is written on the river

and somehow the almost-light

floats in: that grey-blue time we give

no name as if we favour the gloaming dusk,

the twilight, the crepuscule,

when all promises are rescinded

and we are comfortable in regret

and not this eastern moment

when the sun begins to rise

over the smudged line above the scrub

in its veils of gauze

and we fall away

like smoke, like water, like thought

into this slow power of movement.





Growing Up


My daughter poses in front of the mirror

with nothing on. She leans, arms stretched

above her head, trying on faces, and I wake

from months of blindness: this preening girl

has wintered in the darkness of her clothes

the curve of hips, the swell of breasts.

She’s pouting now, lips in league

with her sultry gaze. She sways, provocative

as a lap-dancer, her feet just missing

the plastic figures she was playing with

half an hour before.




It Never Stops


The antennae that once woke me 

to catch a hiccup

before it revved to screams

now scan the quality of night

to read who's out, who's in.


And 'out' means stravaiging

in pubs and clubs, daundering

on streets with chittery bumps

they don't feel, lurching for

taxis, friends' floors, the last bus,


while I'm the missions' sergeant

in my wakeful nightie,

alert for keys, creaking

stairs, the sloosh of taps,

counting them home.






The Shape of a Mother


The shape of a mother

shifts in all the years she learns in,

testing the sharpness of her heart

against tomorrow when her children leave.

She hides the truth in her bones.

On wintry days they ache

when she sees in her mind’s eye

her home empty as the blue tit’s nest

she found, its neat circle of hair,

twigs and a pink scrap of paper

from who knows where, cold

now. But what can she do

but go on doing the small things

she’s so good at, lining her nest

with pieces of days, moving her joints,

remembering summer?







In the warm earth

of your body

something is stirring

though it is not spring

but late summer.


It has taken root

with the fierceness of the determined,

and prepares to flourish in you

as the apple tree and the plum tree

flourish in your garden


and I wonder

how this fruiting started

how it decided or how it simply happens

that this new growth buds, blooms

readies itself to fall






Wearing My Mother's Pearls


Even after a year, they smell of her

as if hording in their moons

molecules of perfume, essence of her


transcribed into light and locked

in the blue velvet box, so that

when I open it, finger the lustrous string,


she's here again, and something large

and almost tangible fills me:

Is it loss,


              that sharp truth of never again?                                                             

Or a sense of connection, as if

the scent materialises her staunch


spirit and straight spine, as if

she's approving me looking nice for once,

pearls warm against my neck,


their first touch of air since her fingers

stumbled with the clasp, undressing

after dinner in that last hotel.





Poetwoman  after Pie Corbett


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.


At sun-down, she shakes her pinny

over the cat's dark fur, so unfinished poems

fall into its warmth. When the cat

pads out into the night, her lines 

brush against bushes, attach themselves

like burrs, to be read by moonlight.   






Wondering about God


Of course she wonders: she's alive, isn't she?

And science hasn't yet explained the spark

that even in a test-tube

ignites a fledgling consciousness.


And she's heard the forest's full of pine-cones

each shaped to the same mathematical formula.


But TV plunders her with pictures of space -

its million million suns - and reason

is a task master for disbelief.


So she swithers. Some days she's a skelf of a shell

sucked out by a random, infinite sea:

others, she's stopped by an autumn leaf

its precision, its beauty, its place.








The garden understands Easter

better than I do. It does not

pause to question stones

rolling from caves.

It only holds its breath through chill mornings

when haar blurs the sun, knowing

how winds blow into the heart of trees

and whisper blossom, how branches

sense the steady rise of sap, how tulips

cup their secrets in clasped hands

ready to redeem them in warm air,

how the huge wheel

creaks against the flow of days

shifting us towards

the only proof we need.






3. Publishing History of Poems:


Revisiting No 33                          Smoke,  The Winding Road (Hawthorn Press)  Leaving the Nest

Dawn at Benares                          New Writing Scotland, Leaving the Nest (Two Ravens Press)

Growing Up                                 Images of Women (Arrowhead Press), Leaving the Nest (TRP)

It Never Stops                              BBC Radio 4, Ruth Padel, Poetry Workshop

The Shape of a Mother                 Leaving the Nest, (Two Ravens Press)

Fruiting                                         The North

Wearing My Mother's Pearls        Commended in Ware Open Poetry Competition 2011

Poetwoman                                   Acumen

Wondering About God                  Runner Up in Second Light Poetry Competition 2011

Easter                                            Acumen




4 - Afterword

Email Poetry Kit - info@poetrykit.org    - if you would like to tell us what you think. 

We are looking for other poets to feature in this series, and are open to submissions.  Please send one poem and a short bio to - info@poetrykit.org

Thank you for taking the time to read Caught in the Net.  Our other magazine s are Transparent Words ands Poetry Kit Magazine, which are webzines on the Poetry Kit site and this can be found at -