This week’s poem in the Catholic Poetry Room is by Thomas E. Simmons.                                                                                           


Us, as sunlight dew-dampened the stained glass
bowed, and then gestured. Following Missal.
Not anxious for endings, nor dismissal
We faithful vocaled our faith at the mass.

Devoted the celebrants, hushed and blessed.
These sacraments sanctify us; this place –
a building constructed with rules and grace
a fabric of rites; a fortress of rest.

“The Lord be with you.” “And with your spirit.”
Sprinkling water fanned over the pews,
The priest intones blessings: spirits infuse.

Not in the one-ness of a single one.
Lord God, Lamb of God; Son of the Father:
He takes away sins; brilliant this altar.

Thomas Simmons is a professor at the University of South Dakota School of Law where he teaches Trusts & Wills, Estate Planning, Professional Responsibility, Remedies in Law & Equity, an occasional seminar titled Holocaust Law, and he co-teaches Tribal Wills Clinic I and II.

He is a fellow with the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), the American College of Tax Counsel (ACTC), and the American Bar Foundation, and serves on the South Dakota Governor’s Task Force on Trust Administration Review and Reform. Thomas is a former member of the South Dakota Board of Pardons & Paroles. Currently, he serves on the South Dakota Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

Prior to joining the faculty of the USD law school, Thomas was a partner with the Gunderson, Palmer, Nelson & Ashmore law firm in Rapid City, South Dakota where he practiced in the trusts and estates field for thirteen years. He also clerked for the Honorable Andrew Bogue, a senior federal district court judge. He has taught at every educational level: Head Start, junior high students in Japan, fourth graders in the U.S., paralegal students, and now law students. He also worked as a “slimer” in a salmon cannery in Petersburg, Alaska. He is in the process of converting to Catholicism.

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