Vox Populi

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Michael Simms: You Taught Me

To listen without trying

To see without trying

To be here effortlessly

Letting words flow through

You with a sense of humor

Fascination being the rule

The guiding star in a dark 

Field of star-flies which grow

From grubs you wouldn’t

Admire even on a good day

Which came often in those

Days opening a textbook 

On set-theory to explain

Grammar as if it could but


It could and the time you pointed

At the bubbles rising in the pitcher

Of beer to explain consciousness

Which was blurred by that time

Of evening you never said you

Wanted to kiss me until many

Years later when you were dying

And I was old and you were 

Older what a pair we were

Bumbling through the department

Of tears when your old professor

Was dying and now mine


In memory of John Lewis

John Lewis was my teacher and mentor when I was an undergraduate at Southern Methodist University 1972-1976, then we were colleagues in the English Department from 1979-1987. He was funny, brilliant, kind and passionate, my best and most important teacher and a supportive senior colleague. When I first met him, he looked much like the photograph below:

John Lewis

Poem copyright 2022 Michael Simms

Michael Simms is the founding editor of Vox Populi. His recent books include a collection of poetry, Nightjar (Ragged Sky, 2021), and a novel Bicycles of the Gods: A Divine Comedy (Madville, 2022).

11 comments on “Michael Simms: You Taught Me

  1. Jolly Watson
    August 16, 2022

    Is it okay if I follow up again in 1810336066 months?.


  2. vengodalmare
    August 12, 2022

    I love it.


  3. Gene Mariani
    August 11, 2022

    Once again, Michael, you’ve shared your beautiful poetic thoughts. Thank you!


  4. loranneke
    August 11, 2022

    What a humble & moving tribute, Mike!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      August 11, 2022

      Thank you, Laure-Anne. I love the elegies you’ve written over the last few years, so your praise means everything to me.


      Liked by 1 person

  5. John Tieman
    August 11, 2022

    A lovely memorial.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Arlene Weiner
    August 11, 2022


    Liked by 1 person

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