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Sue Dymoke


Does this poem pay its way?

The UK Government's Culture Secretary Maria Miller said the arts world must make the case for public funding by focusing on its economic, not artistic, value (BBC News 24/4/13)

While reading or listening to this poem you should decide
if it gives you value for money.
Please tick or indicate all that apply.

Does it:
a) reap the reward of your reading investment time?
b) merit further reading investment?
b) make you want to read the poet's new collection?
c) persuade you to investigate the poet's back catalogue?
d) stimulate the wider literary economy through purchase of:

  • tickets for readings
  • CD recordings
  • poetry apps
  • library memberships (only available to purchase)
  • works of criticism
  • stationery items
  • visits to writers' houses
  • computer hardware
  • office furniture or back supports
  • magazine subscriptions
  • competition entry fees
  • a shed to write in
  • a writing retreat/holiday
  • editorial support
  • copying, printing or binding facilities
  • the services of an amanuensis
  • a waste paper bin?


How to handle a New Year

Rake each month to a fine tilth
drag the flints, broken glass, former snail shells to one side
reveal the black earth
touch its teeming friable places

Look at the stars properly for once
say their names with confidence
call them up from darkest skies
hear their songs humming beyond light

If all else fails
cross and re-cross the date line
queue up for seconds
eat them carefully.



There were always tapes
Cash’s tapes
so we could never forget.

Capital letters
classic script
red for primary
blue for secondary
no gender divide.

Our full names
neither abbreviated
nor initialised
so they could track us down.
amongst the
drip dry

We were our objects
or they were us
white aertex shirt
nylon yellow hockey socks
primrose windcheater
shiny black leotard.

The blue striped tie hid my name
deep inside itself

embarrassed at the exposure.


The 9th Duchess of Rutland as a sketch

In watercolour, chalk and wash
she is a younger, lighter
less daubed
less doughty version of her oiled self.

Heavy curtains do not swamp or
smother her morning in dark velvet.
Instead a leafy backdrop stirring
in the breeze from an unseen window
gives her body airy potential.

She is unencumbered
save for a long flick of pearls.
Evening garments lift and swish,
thick rings and a heavy brooch destined
for her final self
are absent.

Johnnie (the family bulldog
who required separate sittings)
does not guard the family jewels with bared teeth.
does not anchor her.

This duchess could float away.




Copyright © Sue Dymoke, 2014.

The poem "Named" was included in the collection Moon at the Park and Ride (Shoestring Press, 2012)