Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Video: Michael Simms reads five poems of joy and acceptance

Michael Simms reads five poems of joy and acceptance from his collection American Ash: The Summer You Learned to Swim; Oh, Darlin'; Evening; Uncorrected Proof; and Consider the Hummingbird.

--

Uncorrected Proof

My mother who was much wiser
Than I knew used to say
Make sure there are mistakes
In everything you do 
So the gods won't be jealous
 
And sure enough 
I find my mistakes spreading
Like bluebonnets
On a dry plain beside 
The Llano River
 
Where we spread her ashes
With the ashes of my father
Whom she loved
 
--
 
She loved this imperfect man
And found beauty
In his mistakes
Imagine
 
And the river carried her ashes
Down to the Colorado
And the Gulf of Mexico
And who knew
She’d come back as a breeze
On this patio
 
--
 
I once knew a composer
Who listened so intently 
When I spoke
He didn’t hear me
 
The grief passed long ago
And what’s left is 
Shadow and sunlight taking turns
Passing over dry sands
 
--
 
A translator famous for his versions 
Of Akhmatova
Said he was trapped
Between heaven and earth
 
Imagine being so in love
The mistakes you make
Keep you on the ground
Imperfect and happy
 
--
 
Which was it?
Rain falling on dry sand
Steam rising in the valley
The mountain turning blue
In the gathering dark?
 
Or was it
Rosy fingered silence
 
As my friend Jose says
Yes metaphors are 
Things with sharp edges 
That can hurt you
 
--
 
Most days I’m sleepwalking
Passing trees without seeing them
Hearing birds and neighbors
Who want nothing more 
Than acknowledgment a simple
Good morning or a nod 
 
And then as if as if
For the first time ever
I’m awake this doesn’t happen often
Just every now and then like
Sunlight on a patio with bougainvillea 
 
A profusion of hibiscus and a scent
Of salt carried by a breeze
From an ocean far away
 

Copyright 2020 Michael Simms. From American Ash (Ragged Sky, 2020).

Bluebonnets and indian paintbrushes outside Llano, Texas

21 comments on “Video: Michael Simms reads five poems of joy and acceptance

  1. Noel Canin
    August 29, 2021

    How we need poems like these to remind us of our humanity and take comfort

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Barbara Huntington
    August 28, 2021

    Wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. John Samuel Tieman
    August 28, 2021

    Your poetry just keeps getting better, like a fine wine that ages splendidly. Your recent work is some of the writing you have ever done.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Billy
    August 28, 2021

    Excellent! Thank you, Michael! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. George Drew
    August 28, 2021

    Michael, just a lovely and quietly intense reading. Loved “Evening”: “Dull is being perfectly at ease with the world”! What a beautiful lyric. And “Uncorrected Proof”– such a wonderful tribute to your parents… And to top it all off, the Austin City Limits tribute to Townes Van Zandt. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Rose Mary Boehm
    August 28, 2021

    So enjoyed.

    Wonderful:

    “I once knew a composer
    Who listened so intently
    When I spoke
    He didn’t hear me”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Barbara Huntington
    August 28, 2021

    Loved reading. Will listen when I am sitting on the deck with my coffee and feeling the subtle change in the season.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. rhass1
    August 28, 2021

    Such wonderfully moving poems that remind me of a world I had forgotten, and that is a precious gift. The transition from the teacher to the night sky speaks perfectly to the hummingbird mind of all poets.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. maddiemysko
    August 28, 2021

    Thank you, thank you. So beautiful, so comforting.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Rich Clay
    August 28, 2021

    Beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

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