A Poem by Helen Kay

Bedtime Story

I sussed it. Walter Weasel painted the statue
because he let slip the colour – red, and
PC Pug never told him that. Dad grinned.

Dad wore a suit and I rarely saw him,
but at story time he was mine – reshaping
his boyhood heroes, Brer Fox and Larry Lamb.

He squatted on the pink nylon carpet
by my bed. A rubber fairy-castle
lamp defended us from Dennis Dark.

I curled up in the scent of Silk Cut,
but often Dad was first asleep and I
was left to complete his stories:

the one where Brer fox goes vegan
and Walter is an eco warrior
and I have learned to sleep without a light.

Helen Kay curates a project to support dyslexic poets (fb Dyslexia and Poetry). Her pamphlet, This Lexia & Other Languages was published by V. Press in July 2020. She has retold all her dad’s improvised and often repeated stories to her own children – with embellishments.

Three Poems by Finola Scott

Repurposing furniture

1. the story chair

your voice  soft warm steady
and there you are   snug
book on one hand 
daughter cradled on the other
she is looking at you   you point
at the page   she looks
at the page  smiles   you look
at her smile     and smile
your voice soft warm steady
daddy bedtime reading 

2. the music chair

guitar tuned  you settle to play
wee faces watch  eager to catch the beat
you foot tap riff  and the audience shift
leaping grinning wiggling clapping
live music here and now in this room
requests taken
no need to turn on radio  or ask Alexa 
here and now  it’s daddy our music man.


and you’re both on the floor
piles of files and folders teeter
ribbons of paper surround you
novelty  transforms this chore
grinning daddy feeds the shredder
noise  whirs  paper   paper   paper
flying  floating  coating the carpet
soft hands clap as spirals of print spout
little fingers tangle making bracelets
bills secrets accounts turn to snow 
at the press of a button
and oh again  again  again daddy
while laughter soars

This is not a shelf unit

It is a monument to joy shared.
Tiny sculptures take pride in this place, 
shelf on shelf on shelf,
such careful constructions. 
Bigger more intricate each time.
Diagrams consulted, eager eyes 
find delicate pieces, position and press
to build lego, that daddy ordered
late night online, thinking of this
bigger each time.

Finola Scott’s poems are on posters, tapestries, postcards and published widely including New Writing Scotland, The High Window, and Lighthouse. Red Squirrel Press publish her pamphlet Much left Unsaid. See also Finola Scott Poems on Facebook. Finola is delighted to watch her son-in-law having fun becoming a fine father. 

Finola Scott