Vox Populi

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Michael Simms: Nightjar

Why should I care 
whether automobiles carry dead drivers 
off the empty highway into the forest?
Should it bother me 
if influential briefcases
no longer swing 
through the canyons?
Or empty suits forget 
how to climb the stone stairs 
of the courthouse? Should I feel sad 
when the giant steel cages 
hold only the bones of men?

I’d love to watch 
skyscrapers collapse from within,
each floor heavy with the years, 
windows widening to let the wind
blow the important pages away
like so many lies.

Shouldn’t we rejoice
when great ocean liners no longer 
plow the plastic sea to unhappy islands
but lie in the coral dark, mollusks 
building palaces of calcium on their hulls?

God who once loved us
no longer requires our praise, 
delighting Himself alone
with the meadowlark.

A crow lifts an unseemly voice to heaven,
and a nightjar flies over the ruined houses 
carrying a soul, passing it 
from one bird to the next, 
never content with its song. 

Copyright 2021 Michael Simms

Michael Simms is the founding editor of Vox Populi. His most recent collections of poems are American Ash and Nightjar (Ragged Sky 2020, 2021).

The Entrance to the Ruined Temple (image by Wanxing Wang)

10 comments on “Michael Simms: Nightjar

  1. Deborah DeNicola
    February 2, 2022

    Great poem Michael! I love the images!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Barbara Huntington
    January 29, 2022

    Beautiful in its truth. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Patricia A. Nugent
    January 29, 2022

    “God who once loved us no longer requires our praise.”
    Startling but….who could blame her?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. singsharon
    January 29, 2022

    Michael–this poem really gets to me. Those final two stanzas are especially powerful and poignant!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Saleh Razzouk
    January 29, 2022

    Nice poem.
    Covid can not penetrate.

    Liked by 2 people

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