Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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, December 14, 2014


by Martin Willitts Jr

“On December 1st, the World Food Programme (W.F.P.), announced that it was suspending its operations to feed one million seven hundred thousand Syrian refugees—scattered across Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, and Egypt—because it had run out of money. (The program is under the auspices of the U.N., but funded entirely by voluntary donations.) . . . As vast as the crisis in Syria is, it’s only one of several across the globe. In Iraq, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic, huge numbers of refugees are on the move; in West Africa, there is the outbreak of Ebola. Apart from watching all this, what can you do? You can send money. I’ve seen the work of both the World Food Programme and the I.R.C. up close, and I can tell you that both make a difference.” --Dexter Filkins, The New Yorker, December 12, 2014. PHOTEO: Syrian Kurdish refugees enter Turkey, September 27, 2014. CREDIT PHOTOGRAPH BY MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER BROWN/MAGNUM via The New Yorker.

Peace to you in a place where there is no peace,
where grace has no meaning, and you hide
from the violence where there is no shelter.
Where you are is so dangerous, so uncertain,
there is no guarantee this message will reach you
or ease your fears. And I fear, you have died
or lay dying under ruins, wondering
where salvation is, where peace is promised,
and have you the grace necessary to go there.

Where I am, in safe for the moment, but
as we both know, not one moment is certain
or safe, and all my security could be gone,
wiped out in an instance, and my light taken.
So as grace leaves me in search of you,
you shall be making a different peace,
one before death, wiping the slate clean,
professing your faults, as the pieces of life
disassemble around you, lacking grace.

Martin Willitts Jr has 7 full-length collections and 28 chapbooks including his recent social issues poetry chapbook City Of Tents about the Occupy Movement and other historical and political poems (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2014).