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Michael Simms: Coming to Terms

I remember standing at the window
watching the snow fall slowly
through the afternoon.
It was one of those April snows
we used to get in Pittsburgh
before America went to hell.
 
I’d just returned from spilling
my parents’ ashes in the Llano River
behind their house, probably
an act of thanagogic vandalism
of a municipal water supply
but who’s to know?
 
And watching the snowflakes
melt as fast as they hit the sidewalk
I felt a bit ghostalgic, a word
I may have invented
for that occasion, to mark
a feeling of nostalgia
 
for another world, the one
we came from and will return to,
and also the feeling of affection 
for the dead, at least for 
my mother, a kind and wise
woman who subtly saved me
 
from my father, a cruel vain man 
whom I’ve come to accept
genuinely despised me.
But I didn’t hate or dislike him
instead I disloved him, feeling
an intense disappointment
 
at his limitations, opportunities
for love being so few in this life.
And as each snowflake fell 
on the sidewalk immediately 
disappearing as if meant
to live only in the air, of the air,
 
I was feeling astralgic, a sadness
for the stars that died
billions of years ago
whose light we see now,
a homesickness for a cosmos
that no longer exists. 
 
There is no lasting happiness 
in this world, only
particles of happiness,
fleeting, unpredictable,
transitory as a fragrance
or a falling leaf or a glance
 
from a passerby on the street,
a plain person, hardly noticeable
who slips through our dreams
like a cat through shadows
changing us in ways 
we never wanted to be changed.

Michael Simms is the founder and editor of Vox Populi. His latest collection of poems is American Ash (Ragged Sky, 2020).

Copyright 2021 Michael Simms

28 comments on “Michael Simms: Coming to Terms

  1. allisonfine
    April 11, 2021

    This is so beautiful Michael. Thank you for this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mandy Fessenden Brauer
    April 10, 2021

    I absolutely love the last two stanzas of this poem and will hang them up beside my desk. Hauntingly meaningful so a special thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. John Samuel Tieman
    April 10, 2021

    Profound poem, Michael.

    I really commend you for this dialogue you have within yourself. Such issues are always, well, agonizing.

    I have been thinking all day about this poem since, of course, I knew your father. For all that, it is always easier, in large part because it is vastly less complicated to be a friend than a son.

    And the poem brings to the fore all my own complicated feelings about my father, a man I both love and hate.

    I think these relationships live on throughout our lives, going from one age to the next, growing from one interpretation to the next, searching for some resolution we know we will never find.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      April 10, 2021

      Thanks, John. My parents liked you and enjoyed your company. Once the guests were gone, though, a different dynamic took over.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Daniel Becker
    April 10, 2021

    thanks for this. haunting. ghostalgic now in my vocabulary.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Leo
    April 10, 2021

    Certainly resonates with me; I find myself more and more the last few years speaking of, searching for, moments, a tinge, an instant of what I call Bliss. Lovely poem. I don’t think I have told you that I really enjoyed (if that’s the proper term) your new book. It still lies close at hand; haven’t stuck it in the bookcase yet!

    Leo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      April 10, 2021

      Thank you, Leo! I appreciate your steadfast attention to my work as a poet, writer and editor. There are plenty of good writers around, but a good reader — now there’s a rare gem!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Barbara Huntington
    April 10, 2021

    Loved this. I have a nostalgia for the scenes in Bradbury even though I have never lived them.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Rose Mary Boehm
    April 10, 2021

    You put into words what I so often thought:

    There is no lasting happiness
    in this world, only
    particles of happiness,
    fleeting, unpredictable,
    transitory as a fragrance
    or a falling leaf or a glance

    from a passerby on the street,
    a plain person, hardly noticeable
    who slips through our dreams
    like a cat through shadows
    changing us in ways
    we never wanted to be changed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      April 10, 2021

      Thank you, Rose Mary. My dear friend from far away…

      Like

  8. Judith Sanders
    April 10, 2021

    Beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. kim4true
    April 10, 2021

    The “dislove” part really resonates with me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      April 10, 2021

      Yes, it is a word that is needed, I think. There’s a complicated emotional terrain between love and hate for which we have few words.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. jfrobb
    April 10, 2021

    Having just moved this week (still unpacking, Verizon tech come and gone), this is the very first poem I have read in my new home. Both your words and the timing make it very special. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Charles Davidson
    April 10, 2021

    That cat, itself a pitch-dark shadow, crossed the street near our home a day ago with a no-longer-destined-for-this-world mouse dangling from its mouth. I have pondered that moment more than once. And now your “Coming to Terms” captures it for cat and mouse, star and snowflake, as for us all, with your phrase “to live only in the air, of the air.” You took my breath away just long enough for me not to take for granted the breath I breathe in now and next. Thank you, Michael! I am already breathing more deeply.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Nancy Krzton
    April 10, 2021

    Wow!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Daniel Burston
    April 10, 2021

    A beautiful poem/meditation, Michael. Many thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. David Ades
    April 10, 2021

    Wonderful, Michael.

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on April 10, 2021 by in Note from the Editor, Poetry and tagged , , , , .

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