INDIGO DREAMS

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MY LOVER'S BIRDS

Diana Mitchener (nee Filkin) was born in Wallasey, Cheshire in 1933. Her childhood experiences of

war-time bombing and evacuation to Shropshire (1941-1945) and their long-term effect are explored in her 2011 memoir: Holding the Line (www.corncockle.co.uk).  

 

Writing has been a life-long interest. Upon retirement as a lecturer in Teaching English as Foreign Language at University of Chichester she took an M.A. in Creative Writing (2000), soon becoming an active member of poetry groups in West Sussex, notably Slipstream Poets. Regular poetry workshops and opportunities to perform her poetry ensure that she is still developing as a poet.

 

In 2009 she published Ten Poems for Performance and a collection of her poetry under the title Corncockle. Many poems in these collections have been placed in national poetry competitions and have been published in poetry journals and anthologies.

 

Her short stories have been published in the Macmillan Bookshelf series, in anthologies of winning stories and in the French Literary Review. She was the winner of the Muse & Music Monologue competition (Writing and Performance category) in 2000 and 2002 and was the runner-up in 2004.The monologue ‘Tale Ends’ was performed at the Arts Cafe, Covent Garden in 2004.

 

Now in her early eighties she appreciates close relationships with her friends and her growing family who happily live near her home in Billingshurst, West Sussex.  

DIANA MITCHENER

 

MY LOVER'S BIRDS

 

ISBN 978-1-910834-03-9

 

Indigo Dreams Publishing

 

Poetry

 

138 x 216mm

 

36 pages

 

£6.00 + P&P UK

 

PUB: 13 NOVEMBER 2015

 

 

ORDER HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

West Cudlow, Clymping

 

It takes a Spring tide to gather force

to lift us out of our homes

the shingle and crabs on the kitchen floor

sand-pancakes and lobster bones

 

the swell of the Spring tide winkles us out

through the barnacle-crusted doors

and we swim like Selkies on mountainous waves

that crash on the Clymping shore

 

we swim with the swell and ride with the tide

and we claw at the pebble-strewn beach

for to stand upright is more than we dare

so we crawl with elbows and feet

 

till the moonlight shines on the stony flint

of the crumbled nunnery wall

though the altar is gone and gone are the cells

where we prayed on our knees in the storm

 

But our god of the heavens gave feeble way

to Poseidon the god of the seas

with a wrench and a roar he swept us away

the chapels the nuns and the priests

 

And it’s only when the Spring tide is high

that the murmur goes round the throng

tonight, tonight when the moon is near

and our will and our hope are strong

 

we fish-tail out of our sea-cave lairs

and swim through the swell to the shore

up the shingle beach to the ruined homes

where our prayers are heard no more.                

 

 

 

Provence in July

 

Ninety degrees in the shade. The heat

pounds the scorched earth relentlessly.

Aubergines swell to purple, chillies

shriek to scarlet, spiked tongues of the yucca

hang over parched grass.

Under the Emperor Sun, battalions

of sunflowers stand to attention,

uniform faces haloed with orange rays.

 

Under the harsh trumpets of the red bignonia

the bloodied droplets of ripe mulberries

I long for the cooling days of autumn

in a country of fresh winds and crisp mornings,

green lawns and damp, cobwebbed hedges,

the midday sun grapefruit yellow.

 

Here, in Provence, only sunflowers

dare lift their faces to the Sun.

My Lover’s Birds

 

I set them free, his birds.

Liberation? Treachery?

 

Pearl-grey cockatiels stiffened their coifs

Japanese quails scuttled for cover

red-eared waxbills fluttered to apple trees

fire-finches darted through red-billed weavers

cut-throat finches and yellow canaries

with twitching beaks and confetti feathers

scattered against the barred sunset.

 

The aviary twisted its wrought iron frame

agape with emptiness.

 

So I freed his prized possessions

and left him with nothing but sparrows

to impress his new love.

 

 

 

Brown Study

 

A brown sweater      

scored in a ploughed field

a heavily knitted brow

knit two purl two

knit into the back of the stitch

furrows raised along the arm.

 

Unravel by the fire

this sleeve of care sewn

with sharp needles

this complex family knitted

pattern with its dropped

stitches its ragged holes

its semblance of holding together.

 

Outsize eyes looking in,

sighs, stitches, step-sisters

step by step ditches filled

with rank water

salt tears dripping,

drooping, the crest

fallen, the taste of dark

chocolate bitter yet

 

nurturing yet melting

yet setting yet holding

the field a maize in

water cress sweet

corn. We’re together, hole

darned but holding.

Poems cover a variety of topics reflecting life enriched by real and imagined experiences: journeys, interaction with the natural world, art, people and relationships.  The poet utilises a variety of forms and voices.

 

 

 

 

“The poems in My Lover’s Birds describe life well lived and are proof of the energy that’s summoned by reflecting on the everyday as well as more uncommon experience. Sometimes the poems are elegiac, sometimes wise, celebratory and

up-lifting.”

Jackie Wills  

 

“Diana Mitchener’s collection of poetry reflects the maturity of a life lived.  Loki, the Viking cat, the Karate Gran who tries to give her grand-daughter advice in ageing, a student caught up in a Tsunami, a spurned woman who frees her lover’s birds: characters made flesh on the page await the fortunate reader.”  

Wendy Klein  

 

“Diana Mitchener leads us through experiences of forceful and fragile aspects of the physical and mystical world as she sees and feels it. Close observation of movement, sound and stillness is expressed in assured honesty. In the final journey of this collection she invites us to enter the Peace Garden:  Enter, tread softly, breathe Peace when you leave.”

Geoffrey Winch

Not my Cat

 

Loki is Not My Cat.

 

Loki climbs the ash tree

in the front garden.

So far He has kept

to the lower branches.

 

Although He is Not My Cat

I treat Him with respect.

He dines on salmon, tuna,

rabbit and vegetables

from vacuum-sealed packs.

 

I offer libations

from a boiled kettle

over a dish of pebbles

culled from the shores

of Odin’s Isle.

 

Loki brings me gifts

of mangled mice

and an occasional

flustered baby bird

or leaping frog.

 

Loki forgets He is

Not My Cat

and so far seems content

in a domestic setting

though His blue eyes reflect

disturbing memories.

 

I tell Him nothing

of His namesake, Loki,

the evil Viking God.

 

Diana1crop Mitchener