A number of things you   should know

Susan Jane Sims lives in South Gloucestershire with her husband Chris, and together they have four grown up sons. Susan is passionate about and committed to poetry. Her own poems have appeared in many magazines and anthologies and in 2010 she founded Poetry Space to help widen participation in poetry and provide a platform for poets to showcase work.  


She is fascinated by the link between writing poetry and wellbeing and has been actively involved with Lapidus for many years. Each autumn she visits primary schools in the South West as part of the Threshold Prize initiative.





Susan Jane Sims


A number of things you should know


ISBN 978-1-909357-68-6


Indigo Dreams Publishing




138 x 216mm


54 pages


£7.99 + P&P UK


PUB: April 2015










A number of things you should know



As this is a first date, you’ll get one kiss,

at the end of the night outside flat number nine.

If we get to date three you might get

a little more that is if you’ve impressed me some.

Last guy got me twelve hot cross buns.

Beat that? I only went to school

for four years. After that we lived in a van

and lessons were cut short. Well lessons from a book at any

rate. I only owned one book. Great Expectations.

Mom used to brush my hair every day –

thirty two strokes. Pity she stubbed out her cigarette

the same number of times on my back

where it didn’t show. My pop was a great guy,

used to play cards, that’s how he lost us the house.

Sometimes he used to cheat. Kept a few extra to the fifty two

in his pocket. Didn’t save him though. Not like the flask did.

During the war he had a silver whiskey flask in his pocket.

Deflected the bullet. That single bullet could’ve killed him

then I wouldn’t be here now in this cosy twosome with you.

If we get to date number four I’ll stay over at yours.

I like tea in the morning, brewed for three whole minutes

and an egg boiled for six. I like it hard with a dollop of butter.





Boys Don’t Cry



A thousand shimmering particles

pepper the tree outside this window;

its black slender trunk, its awkward

limbs flailing in the wind. They can do

nothing else. I have escaped today from

being the wind that hurtles through your life,

prodding, pulling, soothing, wiping. After

a life time of being told that boys big or small

do not cry, just a song, Mama it’s called,

brings the knife tip of your tears

into daylight from embroidered sheaths

that have long kept them safe.








Winifred Holtby liked to spoon

out the yellow yolk of egg

and eat it with new made bread,

my Auntie Amy told me.


As the maid, she often served

her this. From Winifred she received

a kind of immortality. The roots

of her story retold as South Riding.


Amy found love with Charlie.

And Winifred? I ask.

For her there was Henry

my auntie said. On, off, on, off, on.


Winifred loved Henry with

a passion. But him?                              

He left it till she lay dying

to propose.














Mac Believes in Angels



silver blue angels

who come to his balcony

for bread and cake.


He believes in the angels

who come to visit him,

and nod and smile.


Mac believes in angels


blue black angels

who fill up his patch of sky

with their whirring wings


He believes in angels.


He knows the angels believe in him.




My Name



The versions of it

I keep for different occasions:



motherly, dependable

always enough of us

to get lost in the crowd.

A badge of anonymity.



for being an Auntie.

Susie for romance

and strings

of sweet red hearts and kisses.



for wholeness, sexiness.

for grown up womanhood.


Susan Jane,

because it brings back as much of me

as possible and lets me say

the unsayable.





Like a Bridge



A blanket is exactly

like a bridge


anchored at either end

by the solid mass of bodies


that have rolled

to the edge of the bed.


Under its canopy a river flows

thicker than blood.


A bridge is a blanket

for a river


loosely arched over it

giving it space to breathe








The Kill


For Emily Dickinson


The surprise is

that we are shocked

at the viciousness of the kill


and the coolness

of the killer

after the act.


Watch the lioness at rest

the satiated sleep

the playful cuff of a cub’s head

the carefully retracted claws.



watch the lady pinpoint her target,

stalk, and strike.


It’s the covering of tracks

the washing of hands

the desire to be clean again

that marks out a human kill.


And it’s in the aftermath of rage

that we spot hope’s feathered edges

and reach.





Dear Michael



Yours was the name

for the boy my parents wanted,

their name for me had

I been male.

I let your image grow.

Blond, curly haired, I gave you

the place between

my sister and me.

The place where you

could be you

Her little brother,

my big one, you did

the things we didn't dare

and made my parents

less afraid for all of us.

Then in one strange moment

in Dad's old age, you became

real and remembered. A four

year old gripping your mother's hand.

He'd seen you on the bus, he said.

His son. And Edie, the girl

he'd known before.

Michael, if that was you,

I hope your life's been good,

I hope you've been well loved

and learned to love

what's real.

This comes from me,

your sister, Sue.


“Like the butterfly she writes about on page 9, Sue alights first on one subject and then another, touching down delicately on each, saying enough but not too much, but with much wisdom, leaving the reader with sharp intakes of breath after many of them. Reading ‘A number of things you should know’ gave me cumulative pleasure, often such surprise I was really sorry to come to the end of it.” Caroline Carver


“Susan Jane Sims’ poems depict the deep, sensuous colour of life and explore the essence of what it is to be human.  The humour, the joy, the sadness – all emotions that make up a self are present in this work. The poems are characterised by an openness and generosity of spirit that allows the reader into the poet’s world that in turn becomes the reader’s world. ‘Beyond these walls, / the faint moaning waves…/Within these walls, / the muted tick, tick, tick,… / In  my head your voice…’ “

Wendy French






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