Vox Populi

A curated webspace for Poetry, Politics, and Nature. Over 16,000 daily subscribers. Over 7,000 archived posts.

Michael Simms: Hatred

Out of spilled coffee grounds
and banana slime
beside the compost bin

a gangly vine grew 
out of shadow

into slats of light
between the boards
of the deck above.

I hated the way tough thorns
of Rubus drew blood
whenever I passed, 

the way a suckering root 
held clay and stone
in a thousand fingers

never letting go, choking the softer roots
of elderberry and cherry,
stealing water from roses and sweet shrub

and milkweed that fed the monarch.
This bramble, this briar patch
of demon weed was killing my garden

so I investigated  
poisons: Triclopyr kills
dicots, leaving grasses alone

but would kill the roses
and azaleas as well, and maybe
me, but still I was crazed 

with hatred for this weed.
I scythed, mowed, axed
hoed, trimmed, yanked 

and eyed with vicious intent
this intruder eating my garden. 
But the satanic bramble would not die. 

Then, in the spring of the fourth year of my war, 
the arching canes ventured small white blossoms 
whose yellow stamens attracted bees. 

And in midsummer, green berries 
turned red, then black – 
and a tanager perched on the compost bin 

feasted on the dark 
drupes. The berries tasted sweet, 
the hard seeds insistent on my tongue.

I resisted pleasure, then succumbed.

Michael Simms is the Founding Editor of Vox Populi. His many books include a novel, Bicycles of the Gods: A Divine Comedy (Madville, 2022).

Copyright 2022 Michael Simms. First published in Live Encounters, edited by Mark Ulyseas.

Image source: Encyclopedia Britannica

25 comments on “Michael Simms: Hatred

  1. Lisa Zimmerman
    April 21, 2023

    A powerful poem 🖤


  2. vengodalmare
    April 16, 2023

    I love his poems, and the metaphorical manner of his verses. And much more…


  3. Rosalyroffman@gmail.com
    April 15, 2023

    This is terrific. Patience and sense abides here. Good to see/read it and you.


  4. kim4true
    April 15, 2023

    We have a mulberry mixed in with the grape and blackberries, and it has come back from a million maulings. Now we have finally figured out what it is, I don’t see it!


    • Vox Populi
      April 15, 2023

      HA! I’m learning to be a better identifier of plants, but it is a subtle art.



  5. Jose A
    April 15, 2023

    Michael, I start off hearing They Feed They Lion, but end up somewhere completely different – with lion cubs licking my fingers. Nicely done.


    • Vox Populi
      April 15, 2023

      Thanks, Tony. As you know I love Phil Levine, so for you to hear him in my lines is a wonderful thing.



  6. Saleh Razzouk
    April 15, 2023

    I can see a feast. Too many fruits but with too many predators. Winged ones.
    It is a new poem.


  7. Deborah DeNicola
    April 15, 2023

    What a great poem! I love it.


  8. Leo
    April 15, 2023

    Thanks for this poem. It brings back memories of running barefoot through the woods and fields, along the train tracks looking for blackberries; trying to find enough to pick so mother could make us a blackberry cobbler. The bloom, the fruit of the wild things (the weeds) are to me the most beautiful. Sweet Autumn Clematis, lyreleaf sage, wild carrot (Queen Anne’s Lace) and even a thistle have appeared in my “flower” garden and have been allowed to stay and are cherished.


  9. laureanne2013
    April 15, 2023

    I love this one, Michael — the tone and push and tension mounting and the “I scythed, mowed, axed
    hoed, trimmed, yanked

    and eyed with vicious intent
    this intruder eating my garden.
    But the satanic bramble would not die. ”

    …you know me: clarity, energy, sounds and cadence, imagery and passion — I second Bob! Bingo!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. melpacker
    April 15, 2023

    Loved it. great description of the struggle and the reward.


  11. jfrobb
    April 15, 2023

    Irony + A Smile! Thanks, Michael. A good way to start my day.


  12. Robert Wrigley
    April 15, 2023

    Bingo, Michael.


    • Vox Populi
      April 15, 2023

      A bingo from you, Bob, is worth a pot of gold. Thank you.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Enter your email address to follow Vox Populi and receive new posts by email.

Join 16,091 other subscribers

Blog Stats

  • 4,687,068 hits


%d bloggers like this: