Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions.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

Saturday, June 18, 2022


by Lisa Seidenberg

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel has signed an order to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (above) to the United States, where he faces espionage charges, in a decision his organization said marked a "dark day for press freedom." —CNN, June 17, 2022

For publishing classified documents
Of military strikes on innocents
Hits on civilians and wartime blunders
In Iraq and Afghanistan, in shocking numbers
It was not a surprise they took him down
Debating if he is journalist
Assange was a one man wanted list

Sheltered for years in the Embassy of Equador
Until they booted him out the door
His mental state, on view, alarming
But, even so, could still be quite charming
Befriended Pamela Lee, a Hollywood alum
Then fathered two babies and married their mum
While passing the hours awaiting a decision
By London magistrates on his extradition

Why does one choose a life so perilous
When most of us risk so much less?
Or did Julian not know what fate would hold
For one who opted to be so bold
To defy the FBI 
And the CIA
To imagine they would look the other way?
In a more principled world - but not today.

Present day martyrs like Assange and Navalny
Join those in history who took a stand
And paid a high price with stern reprimand
For the crime of speaking truth to power 
And not run away—or cower
I would not do so but let us pause to admire
Those who step out of line and into the fire.

Lisa Seidenberg is a writer and filmmaker residing in Connecticut. Twitter: @Leeside33