Poems by Diana Hendry
Diana Hendry grew up by the sea and has worked as a journalist, English teacher and tutor in Creative Writing at the University of Bristol. Her poetry has won a number of awards including first prize in the 1996 Housman Society Competition. From 1997-1998 she was Writer in Residence at Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary. She has published more than thirty books for children, including a junior novel, Harvey Angell which won a Whitbread Award in 1991. She also writes adult short stories, a number of which have been published in anthologies and read on Radio 4. She lives in Edinburgh.
Borderers, Diana Hendry's second collection, features a number of poems based on her experience of working with cancer patients at Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary. It is not only the borders between life and death that are explored in this volume. There are poems here about cultural and geographic borders, the border between youth and age, love and lust, the strange and the familiar and that final uncrossable border represented by the 'Mysteries' of the last group of poems.
About Diana Hendry's first collection, Making Blue:
“There is energy, variety wit and invention. The sort of book that, when one gets to the last poem, causes you to go back again immediately to the beginning . . . I liked the differing range, the effect of small against large, the small with a Basho-like compactness and elegance, the large, or larger, so thoroughly in command . . .”
“. . . the fresh eye that shines in her children's novels . . . is even more alert in these heart-searchings for grown-ups.”
William Scammell, The Independent on Sunday.
“Her poems focus unsentimentally on the fragile nature of love and our human inadequacy in expressing and coping with its demands… That gap between what is felt and what is said - the limitations of language - is very much a subtext of Making Blue.”
Anna Crowe, Lines Review.
They take their time. Linger, on the border,
like women who go weeks beyond full term
or those who climb to the top of the cliff
then hesitate. What keeps them?
What holds them back? A tough
and worldly umbilical cord perhaps or
maybe the delay's at the other end
and they're caught in an out-patients queue
their names not called.
Relations wait, wipe spittle,
read the paper, pat a pillow,
hold an aloof hand, take tea
and grief, while they, the borderers,
cling on. Is what looks like dreaming
a final drama? Are they back
in childhood's summer? Do they struggle
with demons? Are they being shriven
by an advance party of angels?
It's like that moment when,
seeing off friends at the airport,
you're allowed no further. We wait
for the end, for the gentle finishing touch.
I'd like to think it's a rush of love to the brain,
then out. But when it's over, dream done,
breath drawn, it's us who're left in the dark.
Price £7.95 per copy post free (£5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover illustration: R.V. Bailey
Publication: SPRING 2001 (86 pages laminated paperback)