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Michael Simms: Uvalde

The news is the same old

Murder of children

At their desks loving stories

About ponies and castles

Where so much happens

Between syllables we 

Understand the unfolding

The swelling and collapsing

Of a small promise more 

Tentative than we knew


But we’re somewhere far

From the terror where a calm sets in 

Like a breath held hostage 

As in a garden of roses and sparrows 

Where a cricket ratchets a rough lamentation

And a tree frog remembers 

An ancient elegy for the fallen world

Copyright 2022 Michael Simms

Michael Simms is the founding editor of Vox Populi. His most recent collections of poems are American Ash and Nightjar, both published by Ragged Sky. His first novel Bicycles of the Gods: A Divine Comedy is being released by Madville in August 2022. Originally from Texas, Simms has lived in Pittsburgh since 1987.

Sparrows often take shelter in rose bushes (Flikr).

25 comments on “Michael Simms: Uvalde

  1. daniel r. cobb
    June 24, 2022

    Brutal beyond words. What terror they must have felt. Beyond words. Nineteen children were murdered while 19 “good guys with guns” waited outside an unlocked door for the shooting to stop.


  2. Gerald Fleming
    June 5, 2022

    Michael, in the sixties and seventies I truly believed we were at the verge of a new Age of Enlightenment. Now I only see us plunging into darkness. Struggle every day to stay optimistic, so aware of the gap between human potential and human behavior. But we must push forward, be active… thanks for this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. dzjphoto
    June 5, 2022

    Hauntingly beautiful. Bless you. Made me think of me at my desk as a child, traveling in my mind through the solar system.

    So for me, this passage:

    At their desks loving stories

    About ponies and castles

    Where so much happens

    would be:

    At their desks loving stories

    About rockets and planets

    Where so much happens……….

    *Derrick Z Jackson Co-Author of http://yalebooks.com/book/9780300204810/project-puffin**”Project Puffin: The Improbable Quest to Bring a Beloved Seabird Back to Egg Rock.” Yale University Press 2015 (Paperback, May 2016) http://yalebooks.com/book/9780300204810/project-puffin*

    Liked by 1 person

  4. enkayrn
    June 4, 2022

    Michael your poem is elegant.
    I share your grief; it shadows me all day. But I am now more angry than sad. My grief feels self indulgent.

    I’m afraid that America has abandoned her children and their suffering is immense. Why aren’t we all in the streets screaming our grief and outrage? Surely we aren’t going to continue to accept this insanity. Are we? We need to be ferociously angry and active until there is change. The grief will still be there.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Gene Mariani
    June 4, 2022

    Thanks for your poignant poem, Michael. The almost daily reports of killings in schools, in shopping centers, and in theaters are becoming so depressing and painful to our collective psyche.


  6. Barbara Huntington
    June 4, 2022

    I receive these two places: under the app and in my email. When I respond to the app, I never see my response. Now I am responding from email. An important piece, Michael, snd another reader I responded to earlier reminded me of the many more deaths our country inflicts. All deaths hurt snd I loved the vision of the children as birds in the response I initially answered

    Liked by 1 person

  7. vengodalmare
    June 4, 2022

    Terrible; I can only accompany that little bird hoping it flies to happier skies.
    Your delicate song will surely fly along with the little bird.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. loranneke
    June 4, 2022

    “Where so much happens

    Between syllables we ” – ohhhhhh…..

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Jim Newsome
    June 4, 2022

    A necessary poem, it seems. There need to be more like it. A couple of breaths to read it, calm or enraged, then wander between the lines.. I would join the cricket ratcheting a rough lamentation for the endless killing of children.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Saleh Razzouk
    June 4, 2022

    Very sensational little poem.
    We in the Islamic myth imagine the dead children as birds in heaven. All children in our myth are saved from hell.
    It was gross. The shooting.
    But not a major tragedy like what is going on in Ukraine, Syria and Iraq…
    Please stop killing…

    Liked by 3 people

    • Vox Populi
      June 4, 2022

      Oh, Saleh, thank you. What a terrible thing my countrymen are doing to our children. Why is this happening?

      Liked by 2 people

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