J.MITCHELL

 

Work published in: City Lines (ILEA English Centre); Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (ILEA English Centre); Teaching Poetry in Secondary Schools (Dept of Education and Science); Apples and Snakes (Pluto Press); Trespass Magazine (Miscellany Publishing); Voice Memory Ashes (Mango Press); The Fox in the Caretaker’s Shed (Middlesex University Press); Harlot Red (Serpent’s Tail); Tackling Domestic Violence: Greenwich Resource and Information Pack (Greenwich Council); English File: Language and Gender (BBC Education); MAMSIE: Studies in the Maternal (Birkbeck University of London) etc.

Poem The Backslappers used as a set text in secondary schools.

Broadcast and Performed Work: Play English Rose short-listed as Best New Writer to Radio (broadcast on Radio 4); The Backslappers (broadcast on ‘The English File’, BBC2); Signs of Violence (Work-shopped at Soho Theatre, long-listed for the Verity Bargate Award); play Diaspora long-listed for the Alfred Fagon Award at the Royal Court).

Poet-in-residence of the Westway in North Kensington (Poetry Society Community Regeneration Initiative).

Travel articles published in: The Guardian, The Observer and Pride Magazine

The Bride

I’ve seen the wedding photograph that proves

my mother used to laugh before the war – her head

thrown back, mouth open to the room and eyes squeezed shut.

She’s sitting down, her hands placed neatly on thin knees.

The office suit looks grey beneath the cloudy glass;

the sharp-edged hat is tilted or about to fall.

My father, standing at her side, is smiling at his feet –

amused, embarrassed, scared – it’s hard to tell:

he never talks about the way he feels.

He’s swamped within the uniform, the collar wide, the sleeves

too long, and looks like anybody’s son – the simple one

who went to fight even though he was too young.

I’d like to know what made them tick but wouldn’t want

the photograph to speak. I’d be too sad to hear they were

in love, or that the start was filled with hope.

It’s just I’ve seen her smile so many times. She even makes

a gleeful sound, without much will or strength.

I wonder what I’ve missed not to ever hear her really laugh?

J. Mitchell

 

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