Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Saturday, December 28, 2013


by Richard O'Connell

Queen Elizabeth II granted a rare "mercy pardon" Monday to Alan Turing, the computing and mathematics pioneer whose chemical castration for being gay drove him to suicide almost 60 years ago. --NBC News, December 24, 2013

Breaking the Enigma code seemed simple stuff
compared to interrogation by police
of whether he was loyal or masculine enough,
desperate for details of illicit loves.

He knew his death must look an accident
to spare his family scandal and abuse,
knowing his persecutors would not relent
and ambiguity was always the best ruse.

He knew Snow White must triumph in the end
but he would not; the witches everywhere
were gathered well beyond the final reel
to flay his flesh and feast on his despair.

He held the lethal apple in his hand
devoid of vacillation or chagrin,
knowing he had constructed a new land
and smiling to himself bit deeply in.

Richard O'Connell lives in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Collections of his poetry include RetroWorlds, Simulations, Voyages, and The Bright Tower, all published by the University of Salzburg Press (now Poetry Salzburg). His poems have appeared in The New YorkerThe Atlantic MonthlyNational Review, The Paris Review, Margie, Measure, Southern Humanities Reviw, AcumenThe Formalist.