Saturday, 8 November 2014

This thing called Poetry Space

I wonder why
I started this thing called Poetry Space.
And then
an old lady in her hospital bed,
lost and confused
breaks her silence
and the bodies of the drowned
are looked for over and over again.
A tear falls,
and tiny fingers soft as silk
suture an open wound.

Two readings by Poetry Space poets yesterday and I started to write in prose what it meant and then a poem took over. This is for Sylvia Perry, and  Beverley Ferguson and for everyone in the audience yesterday at two very special events celebrating A Kindness and Flowers in the Blood, both beautiful collections.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Last Meal

I keep wondering what meal
is gonna be your last,Dad.,
Today it's cauliflower cheese,
Susie's special with broccoli and egg,
soya milk, herbs.
I've boiled and melted, stirred
and baked while you, tipped back
in your big old chair, slept, open mouthed
brown blanket keeping in warmth
The dish is out of the oven now
bubbling like a living thing                     
in its white ceramic shell,
and I know that if this meal's
the last you have
you'll  suck  your lips,                     

tell St Peter it was good.

© Susan Jane Sims

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Ode to the Wye

I paddle in your core                                      
and as I float you whisper
of  a long ago birth,
high in the purple mountain
Of Plynlimon,

and how you cut like a knife
through  sand  and limestone rocks                        
to make a valley.
You murmur of your journey to adulthood                                                                          
widening as you found
your way down to the ocean,

how you became home to the otter
and the kingfisher,
and a spawning ground
for lamprey, shad and salmon.
You tell me tales of battles
fought for your soul                                       
and how my kind made
artificial borders                              
along your length.

 How folk built castles
and cottages and lived
on your abundant wealth.

You speak of mines
and acid rain      
that threatened to spoil you.
And all the while I drink you in:
your calm clear water easing my worries;
your fast tumbling heart
thrilling me        
more than any fairground ride.

© Susan Jane Sims

This poem was published in Landscapes on the Edge : poems of the Wye Valley and Welsh Borders, eds. Margot Miller and Sue Sharp. Fineleaf books, 2010. The poem is unusual for me as I rarely write landscape poems.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014


 a heart becomes,
 to head off hurt that picks away at skin.
 We turn stones and send life scurrying,
 up, down, through a mountain.
 The voice cries, open sesame.
 We gather stone upon stone upon sparkly stone
 to fill our arms. The hole we leave, as wide
 and scorched as grief.

Susan Jane Sims

This is a very recent poem and written in response to a prompt on the Blog 52 hosted by Jo Bell.The prompt was to choose a word from a given list and write an Assay poem. 

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Staying Alive

The days drift on,
with nothing much achieved;
for my father, for myself,
just growing older.
These scales we’re on
weigh heavily on my side.
I give him my hours, my minutes, my seconds
and like a small child with no thought
for the parent
he takes them greedily,
his life shadow lengthening.
What if I can’t outlive him?
What then?
What if there are no more years left
to tumble free?

© Susan Jane Sims

This poem was written last Summer at a Second Light residential writing retreat in Worcestershire. The theme for the week was time.

Second Light is a network of women poets. 

Monday, 17 March 2014

At the bus stop

she was chatting on the phone   
telling her friend that
he hasn’t  seen the kids for weeks     
that she’s been coping alone    
that she worked six days a week
and it was all too much   
that she hated him  she turned away  
lowered her voice   I don’t find him
attractive now   he makes me feel sick  
she lowers her voice  still further   
he says he loves me 
wormed  his way in for coffee
last time he brought the kids back 
tried to touch me
I told him where to go   
now I don’t know where he is

© Susan Jane Sims

I have included this poem here as an example of how inspiration can come from anywhere if you keep your eyes and ears open throughout the day and your notebook handy. When I overheard the above I just happened to be on my way to a writing day with Bath Poetry Cafe. Wendy French was a guest facilitator and reader. This poem arose out of the session with Wendy.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Bringing Flowers

If  Wordsworth were to bring me flowers
I’ve no doubt it would be chrysanthemums
with pretty heads growing old
on sturdy shoulders.

They’d last the full seven days
like it says on the label
and their loveliness would slowly
fold into the ocean that sustains them.

 ShelIey’s hand  would grip the stems
of half a dozen blood red roses, thorns and all.
And they’d live scandalously for a few short hours

then die a swift dramatic death.

Susan Jane Sims

In  February 2012 I was invited to be guest poet at Words and Ears, Bradford on Avon, (an open mic event organised by  Dawn Gorman and Helen Murray). The above poem was part of my set.