Ysella Sims



the poet

Ysella Sims is a poet, writer and producer. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, Brittle Star and the The Blue Nib Literary Magazine where she was a contributing editor. She produces poetry/spoken word events and an immersive poetry podcast called Tell Me Something. She has just published her first poetry pamphlet, you are here, (Sandrock Press, 2021) and lives in a falling down house outside Exeter.

the poems


00:00 / 01:44

They watch the screen
as the sonographer traces
slow circles on her belly

and the room dulls
to a thick, cloistered hush.

In another room, smaller, colder

the world rends, roils

beneath the blue plastic sofa

while they wait for the midwife

to tell them, it doesn’t look good.

In the weeks between, they lean

against the cool bark

of the witching tree on the heath
whisper pleas into its tessellations

stick stray feathers into the sand

to arrange their wishes, just so.

And when it is time, she lies still

oh-so-still on the table

holds her breath


Outside, a morning of crows

bare-branched, murdering

the brumal air with clatter and chaws;

a carnival flash of parakeets

at the Richmond window.

Sun breaking through dank

in the gorse-crowned field

to colour the sky sugared pink

starling egg blue

the sweet heft of a pear-sized

ghost in her arms.

I am turning into all the mothers

00:00 / 01:44

I am turning into all the mothers

my younger self condemned;

the ones that baulked

at journeys, heights

the world beyond the door-

the diazepam-rattlers

cake-offerers, stomach-ragers


the confidence-tricksters




the news-tutters



sighers -

all those felled by their

children’s fingers


- picking



Folk Festival, 1982

00:00 / 01:44

All she remembers is that there was a coach

brimful with men and women

punchdrunk with Friday night
and possibility, the air sunripe and sweet
kids stacked amongst kit bags
fiddles and sticks

and as dusk fell a field of yellow and green

where they pitched their tents

and Big Sue, apple-cheeked and

bangled, squeezed her brother

into her bosom’s curve

in the tent’s zipped orange glow

a car park, pulsing with music and bells

light spilling from the pub like

it was somebody’s front room

the electric scent of men

their danced-in shirts

the velveted whirl of women’s

black-chokered throats

childrens’ voices in the glow-wormed hedges

and a scratchy-faced stranger

pinning her, like a butterfly

to the August ground

- her brother, reaching in to

release her

like she was one of his own.

Publishing credits

S h a r e