Submission Guidelines: Send previously unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] Use "Verse News Submission" as the subject line. Send a brief bio. No payment. Authors retain all rights after 1st-time appearance here. Scroll down the right sidebar for the fine print.

Monday, December 24, 2012


by Carol Alexander

A Berkeley, CA vigil held to remember the victims and families of the Newtown, CT, massacre. Photo: Jeremy Pollack/Creative Commons

A pair of peafowl floats down from the trees,
the wan hen and florid cock picking their way
while the river slowly slips back in its banks.

The boy in his tall wading books creeps after,
licking rust from the muzzle of his gun.

The juddering of a turquoise fan perhaps will be
as close to flame of phoenix  as spirit will draw.
But we were born in fire, and to fire will come.

The woman with the small communion dress
rocks in her chair in her ordinary room
room with its proportions rudely skewed;
shocked feathers of the peafowls gently float down.

With their saintly calendar of woes,
country men and women walk in sober twos.

Still the shops stay open; trees blink red and green,
children dash across the street, cars swerve,
we hear the Morse code of the coming snow,
birds in starry park all the news that we can bear.

A pallid smoke in its helix twists and frays,
as if to question who to go and how to stay?
You mummers in a masquerade of death
shoot off your pop guns, begging cakes and ale.

Neither the country nor the quiet grave where we lay
our old ones down in the lightness of their years,
is this cold town where we have just begun to pray.

But unicorns and little maids remain entwined
(in sable trees an archer waits and strings his silent bow).

A writer for trade and educational publishing, Carol Alexander has authored numerous children’s books, served as a ghostwriter for radio and trade publishing, and taught at colleges around the metropolitan area. In 2011-2012, her poetry appears—or is scheduled to appear-- in literary journals and anthologies published by Avocet, Boyne Berries (UK), Chiron Review, Cave Moon Press, The Canary, Danse Macabre, Earthspeak, Eunoia Review, Fade Poetry Journal (UK), Fat Daddy’s Farm Press, Fried Chicken and Coffee, The Mad Hatter’s Review, Mobius, Numinous, OVS, Red Poppy Review, Red River Review, River Poets Journal, Sleeping Cat Books, The Whistling Fire, and Write Wing Publishing.