Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Sunday, March 31, 2013


by George Held

Image source: The Telegraph


My God, what’s this old bugger doing,
down on his knees, pouring water out that silver pitcher,
washing my feet, his bald dome at my knees?
I hear him huffing and puffing, muttering
about humility and service.

What’s he doing now—kissing my feet!
My God, no wonder the warden made us
wash them before we came here to meet
this new pope, the hope of the Church
that no one goes to anymore.

Now he’s washing the feet of a girl,
a ho’ and a Muslim—she’s wearing a head rag—
who lucked out in the draw at the Casal
del Marmo, where we’re detainees
till the judges decide our fate.

Christ, I should get released now that I’ve
had my friggin’ feet kissed byil papa. Maybe
I’ll win the lotto now so I don’t have to mug
any more tourists. What to make of this feat –
having the pope wash and kiss my feet?

It’s a friggin’ miracle, ain’t it?


My son, allow me, your humble servant,
To kneel before you and lift your foot
So I can pour this holy water on it
And wash it clean of dirt and sins to boot.

I have done this in the streets of Buenos
Aires, where I have served as head Jesuit,
Then archbishop and cardinal, till raised
To the Seat of St. Peter, the top of it,

The Roman Catholic Church, so besotted
With scandal with which I must deal.
Let, O Lord, this ritual washing and kissing
Of feet be a symbol of my desire to heal.

Soon God will help me figure how to quash our woes –
Abuse, corruption; now I bow to kiss these humble toes.

An occasional contributor to The New Verse News, George Held occasionally blogs at