Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Friday, February 28, 2020


by Charlotte L. Rea

Cartoon by David Horsey, originally published in The Seattle Times in 2019. 

The day I stopped watching the news,                                              
a wannabe king danced on democracy’s tomb.
I looked to the moon, my long-trusted muse

and trembling asked, what more can we lose?
My life feels hopeless and filled with doom.
To stop-watch progress through the news

is folly, said the moon. Don’t let the ruse
of the haughty turn your heart’s hope to gloom.
Look to me, the moon, your long-trusted muse.

See how the stars and galaxies persevere—whose

presence across the ages is there to illume,
if you stop and watch with care. The news

is like a nova, dazzling but fleet. Wisely choose
what occupies your gaze and what you consume.
I welcome your wisdom, my long-trusted muse.

I’m always here to comfort not to confuse,
be faithful in my company—but never presume
that because you stop watching the news
I, the moon, can be more than a muse

Editor's note: The previous posting of this poem formatted it incorrectly. Its nature as a villanelle is properly presented here in the reposting.

Charlotte L. Rea is a native Virginian who spent twenty-six years on active duty in the United States Air Force. She explains, “I am more appalled every day about what is happening to the democracy I spent a large portion of my life defending. This poem was a way for me to keep current tumultuous times in perspective.” Rea currently lives with her dog, Maggie, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains.