Ysella Sims

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the poet

Poet, writer and producer Ysella Sims has had her work featured in The Guardian, Brittle Star and the The Blue Nib Literary Magazine, where she was a contributing editor. Ysella produces poetry and spoken-word events, as well as the immersive poetry podcast, Tell Me Something. She published her first poetry pamphlet, you are here, in 2021.

the poems

Echo

00:00 / 01:45

            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

            behaves.


            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 / 00:45

            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

            sobbers

            the confidence-tricksters

            told-you-so-ers

            nitpickers

            frowners

            the news-tutters

            jar-scrapers

            eavesdroppers

            sighers –

            all those felled by their

            children’s fingers

            un-

                        –      picking

            the

            strings.

Folk Festival, 1982

00:00 / 01:21

           All she remembers is that there was a coach

           brimful with men and women

           punchdrunk with Friday night
           and possibility, the air sun-ripe 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

Echo: The Blue Nib

I am turning into all the mothers / Folk Festival, 1982:

  exclusive first publication by iamb