Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions. 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.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


(the Seconds of July, 2006-2007)

by Patricia Ranzoni

There were other expressions which I would not have inserted if I had drawn it up, particularly that which called the King tyrant. I thought this too personal, for I never believed George to be a tyrant in disposition and in nature; I always believed him to be deceived by his courtiers on both sides of the Atlantic, and in his official capacity, only, cruel.
--John Adams
on the writing of the Declaration of Independence

On the morning news, Cokie Roberts wears red, white and blue
to remind us today’s the actual anniversary of the Declaration
it took to the 4th to get quilled, roughed up, argued and scratched out.
The “talking heads” argue how the founders stood fast for Amendment One:
no more fear of publishing against a king, no more king! Even daring
to debate how our Supreme Court, after crowning a hard-to-believe one
after that failed election a few hard-to-believe years ago, pulled him up short
the other day saying we didn’t mean that. No blank check (hunting partners
and faith brethren dissenting).

In noon steam we pull on cotton, heading for Blue Hill
where the berries (picnic cooks are fixing with red ones
and whipped cream stripes on cakes) are swelling not with pride
but their pure nature up the mountain overlooking the pretty white life
along the bay, cemeteries along Penobscot waving new Old Glories
for the vets among the flowers. Fields at Horsepower Farm standing ground,
and piles of next year’s wood and choppers of next year’s wood,
hard at it all along the road, splitting what they believe in.

Rufus Wanning’s field worth a fortune left alone like this
smack on the road down to town. What some would give...
he gives to something hard to name for the sake of names.

White bandage sized flags ripple by the thousands in the harbor wind
more like miniature linens on the miniature clotheslines
of the miniature women seen, say, from heaven, who take in
miniature laundries every summer, than sails of the miniature privileged
navigating off shore right through this war.

Windrows not of hay but of holy ghosts, numbered and called out loud.
Thousands of relations cried, stuttered, whispered over the miniature pasture.

Miniature angry, reverent people leave off chores to tend it, mowing
in shifts. Other miniature angry, reverent people abhor it. Some,
who may never have known unelected hunger, fast on the town lawn
to stop it. Some, knowing only what they know, grill hot dogs downwind
to stop it. All with miniature breaking hearts doing their best.
Miniature Democrats and Republicans. Miniature Liberals and Conservatives.
Miniature Nothings and Nobodies. Miniature Revolutionaries and Loyalists.
Miniature Patriots and Disciples not stopping it.

All believing. All beloved. All looking alike, from heaven or hell,
to the killed in action and maybe God.

Patricia Smith Ranzoni writes from one of the subsistence farms of her youth in the heart of American Revoluton land. A mixed-blood Yankee, her unschooled poetry has been published across the United States and abroad, is used by Colby College's "Many Maines" course, and is drawn from by the University of Maine Orono's departments of English and history. Puckerbrush Press published Claiming (1995) and Settling (2000) which are included in the summer exhibit, "Turning the Page, Writing Castine" in Castine, Maine, her maternal ancestral ground. Sheltering Pines Press published Only Human ~ Poems from the Atlantic Flyway in 2005. She has poems in The Other Side of Sorrow: Poets Speak Out about Conflict, War, and Peace (Poetry Society of New Hampshire, 2006) and participates as she can with regional efforts toward peace and justice.