Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Wednesday, July 03, 2019


by William Aarnes 


from the 2019 Independence Day speech

What’s troubling shouldn’t trouble us.  Whatever the news,
only the seditious believe the caging of refugee children

will go on too long.  Maybe, in some subversives’ imaginations,
addicts will keep overdosing.  Maybe storms will devastate

the islands where we vacation.  Maybe dictators will stay
in power in some foreign countries, countries where the rich

can count on the police but the poor can’t.   Maybe
in the once murky past hard-working laborers couldn’t pay

their rent—but never in this land of promise, never
in the comfort of our time.  We’re blessed we can focus

on the inspiring resolve of those families rebuilding
their burned-out homes. We’re lucky we can relish

hearing a decorated veteran belt out our national anthem
as if she’s cured of her PTSD, the athletes singing along,

all of them with hands on their hearts.  And aren’t we charmed
by the fourth-grade teacher who’s earned a raise

by bringing a gun to school?  Why give a moment’s thought
to hardships suffered by people who deserve them?

Didn’t our parents say, “Look on the bright side”?
Only those who belong elsewhere would deny that life

in our beloved country is the epitome of the bright side.
Why should we put up with any doubt?   Everyone’s happy

that what’s happening can never happen to us.

William Aarnes lives in South Carolina.