Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Thursday, October 01, 2015


by Mark Sargent

Seventeen Syrian refugees, including five children, drowned Sept. 27 when their boat sank in Turkish waters on its way to Greece. The Turkish coastguard recovered the bodies from a wooden boat that had set off from the Turkish holiday resort town of Bodrum for the Greek island of Leros, Doğan News Agency reported. The refugees drowned when they failed to get out of the boat’s cabin, the news agency said. Another 20 migrants, who were on the boat’s deck, survived and swam back to the Turkish coast, it added. All were wearing life jackets. —Hurriyet Daily News (Turkey), September 27, 2015

A leaf detaches from the oak and
drifts flipping down against
the pale blue late afternoon sea below,
a lone cicada takes up a rattling solo,
the white rubble of Mavrovouni
flashes across the bay.  What
mountain?  And still the day
holds the black at bay.

Come, says the sea, enter me.
Sun stunned, lazy with heat,
we obey, para-dicing the flow
into glittering fragments that coalesce,
a phosphorescent shadow
fading in our wake.

The nation reels, nothing’s being done,
all values called into question,
the capitol seethes with plot and betrayal;
driven by hunger and war and need
thousands scramble ashore each day,
possessions and children on their backs
swelling the roads towards the next
checkpoint and north, always north,
it’s a long way from South Sudan
to Berlin, Damascus to Dijon.
Nobody wants to stop here.

Night comes with nostalgia, an ache for
a moment of clarity such as the shore lights’
glimmering fingers splayed
across the black and blacker waters,
poised to sound a Monkish chord and
every creature and the sea linger
together exhaling, tidal, stretched open
to return on the breath
to that darkling pain,
and the night whispers,
take the silence with you.

U.S. poet Mark Sargent has lived in Greece since 1990.  Two books published in 2015: The Li Ho Reflux Tour 2003; Crisis: Letters from Greece 2013-2015.