Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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, October 20, 2019


by Julie Steiner

“I wish, with all my heart, to be buried in Father Ambrose St John's grave—and I give this as my last, my imperative will.” —Saint John Henry Newman, 1801-1890, canonized on 13 October 2019; the quotation is from “Written in Prospect of Death,”  Meditations and Devotions, Part 3, 1876). See also "“The Empty Tomb: Cardinal Newman's last laugh?” in Commonweal, October 8, 2008.  Photo: Ambrose St John (left) and Saint John Henry Newman.

A miracle, of sorts: an empty tomb—
a skeleton-less grave, though shared by two.
One hundred eighteen years should be too few
for bones and teeth to seep away like rheum.

The undertakers managed to exhume
two coffin handles; damp had rotted through
all else except a gold-thread tassel. Who
could tell which soggy humus went with whom?

Could Church officials separate the clay
of John from that of Ambrose? In a way,
the two became one flesh while six feet under.

Saint John’s been moved; St John stayed put, they say.
And yet the pair defiantly obey
“What God has joined, let no man put asunder.”

Julie Steiner is a pseudonym in San Diego. Besides the TheNewVerse.News, the venues in which her poetry has appeared include the Able Muse Review, Rattle, Light, and the Asses of Parnassus.