A Poet’s Tears

and other poems by
RITA SIMMONDS | Mother + Poet 


Photo by Annie Spratt

This is a very short poem I wrote years ago, but recently revised into a shape poem to make the lines, which mean so much to me, more memorable.

A Poet’s Tears

why I feel so
lost when my
heart does
not cry

so lost
when I
do not know
why my heart
does not

I recalled the phrase “it hurt my heart” from husband’s retelling of a very moving event in his life. He passed away in 2015, after a long battle with cancer.


IT hurts my heart
to hear your stream
of words so softly said—
a surge that turned
to memory
a rushing riverbed.
Why did you leave
to never leave?—
A flow with no embrace.
It hurts my heart
to hear your stream
and only dream
your face.

This poem is about the effects of my husband’s death on our young children.

Game Changer

EVERY day, the chase commenced.
Their father ran them round the room.
A couple laps to build suspense—
he could have caught them in one loop.
He’d grab and roll them like a log
and launch the tickling poke attack.
Their laughter loud, it shook the house.
It shakes us now. It rolls us back—

A plot upturned gets filled in fast
but leaves a ghostly gap.

Our oldest son who needs to please
has lost all will to play.
His little brother loves the game
but runs without a chase.

Our dining room has been undone
and yet it looks the same.




Mother + Poet

Rita A. Simmonds was born in Rochester, New York. She received her BA from Hofstra University and her MA from Teachers College, Columbia University. For several years, she worked for the City University of New York, teaching English as a Second Language. Simmonds is a three-time winner of the Best Original Poetry category at the annual Catholic Press Association Awards (2011, 2010, 2004), as well as a winner of numerous second and third place CPA awards. In 2012, fourteen of her poems were featured in the bestselling MAGNIFICAT Year of Faith Companion, and 49 original poems in MAGNIFICAT Year of Mercy Companion. Her poetry books include Souls and the City, Bitterness and Sweet Love: The Way of the Cross and Other Lenten PoemsGreeting the Season: Poems for the Holidays. Simmonds lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her two sons.