Wednesday, May 08, 2024

The Light of Conception

 —Poetry by Joshua C. Frank
—Public Domain Photos Courtesy
of Joe Nolan, Stockton, CA


His would-be parents had but days;
The procreative ship sat docked,
And with the passengers’ delays,
That ship is gone, forever locked,
But if, instead, he’d been conceived
And been allowed to live and die,
His soul could one day be received
In the embrace of God Most High.

And hence it grieves my heart to see
A child-shaped space unoccupied,
Not running in the grass with glee,
Nor leaning on his mother’s side,
And no one in his space in bed
To kiss goodnight while tucking in;
No smiling face, no heart well-fed,
No warm caress from hands to skin.

When weighed against one human soul,
No sacrifice too great to give
Could ever be for such a goal
That one’s own child may simply live.

(First published in The Society of Classical Poets)


A friend put forward that I write
Of light that flashes at conception,
Of fireworks when genes unite
In the woman’s body, out of sight,

And God decrees, “Let there be light!”
And greets His child with great reception,
And the zygote’s surface flashes white
In space that’s darker far than night.

My friend turned out not to be right,
Fell victim to a science deception.
Yet still, God sets each soul alight
And in all His children takes delight.

(First published in New English Review)
 Octopus Mom with Eggs 


Come hear of little Eli Hart—
His father fought the “family court,”
Misnamed misandrists lacking heart.
His mind-sick mother got support
From “child welfare” workers, who,
Despite his father’s wishes
To raise his son himself, just threw
The boy to mother vicious.

And when she learned her ex’s goal,
She went to Walmart for a gun,
The one to “blow the biggest hole”
To end the life of her own son.
Although it shows these evil times,
It’s blown out of proportion,
Because a child-murder crime’s
No different from abortion.

(First published in
The Society of Classical Poets)
 Newborn Crocadile


A satirical poem against the left’s appalling response to Hamas beheading babies in Israel.  This poem won Honorable Mention in the 2023 Society of Classical Poets International Competition.

Hey, Hamas, you silly dolts,
You need to mow down more adults.
Keep fighting for your patch of sand,
Since Jews do not deserve the land,
But chopping off their babies’ heads
And slashing children in their beds?
You really need to be more subtle;
To succeed, you must befuddle.
Convince the unborn babies’ mothers
That nothing counts more than their ’druthers
And children are a dungeon chain
Forcing women’s toil and pain.
Convince them that it’s not alive
Until you see its face arrive
And anyone who disagrees
Hates women and ignores their pleas
(The usual apologetics).
Delegate the death to medics
Who live by an assassin’s dictum:
Kill when none can see the victim!

By pro-choice tactics, you may choose
A better way to kill the Jews,
But should you choose the final solution
Applied to France’s Revolution,
We still will stand up for your side
While your land is occupied.
Behead in public or abort—
The right to either, we’ll support.

(First published in The Society of Classical Poets)


Based on Michael Bunker’s grandmother (b. 1909) as described in his book, Surviving Off Off-Grid


Old, blind, and helpless, Grandma’s all alone—
Bed, radio, phone, and nothing stimulating,
Indifferent care-crew members—
Unwanted, worn-out human unit, waiting
To be no more than carvings on a stone,
Like all that she remembers.

Her rural girlhood mostly was the same
As that of Cain and Abel’s unsung sister
And girls throughout the ages:
A large, extended family to assist her
In growing food and cooking over flame—
The meals were thus their wages.

Her farm work done, she played out in the hills
With family dogs and lambs and half-grown
Her sisters and her brothers,
And in her teenage years, thanks to her labors,
She married young with now-forgotten skills
To be six children’s mother.

Her parents both had been allowed to die
At home, fed wood-cooked meals, with kin
And prayers read by their pastor.
My mother calls her poor, but wealth abounded,
All traded for a snake-oil salesman’s lie
That soon became her master.


The media said to buy consumer goods,
Electric labor-savers from the city,
And be assimilated,
Or Grandma’d be an object of their pity:
A third-world widow living in the woods,
Still undomesticated.

She had to pay the corporations back
As an electric-power-and-plumbing renter;
She sold her home for schooling
To be a nurse in some big birthing center,
Where now she’s just a name upon a plaque
Right near where vents do cooling.

Her children couldn’t care for her old age
Once on the hamster-wheel of debt and earnings,
And so they pay some strangers
To keep her, full of home- and family-yearnings,
Locked up just like a sparrow in a cage,
Away from age’s dangers.

When family-hunger hounds her like a ghost,
She calls her past in area codes scattered
Across this once-free nation.
She calls old comfort from when family mattered
To chatter, be in better times engrossed—
Times smashed by modernization.

You may recall, she’s blind, can’t see the phone,
And so she speed-dials one of us at random
And prays that one will answer.
Convenience and consumer greed in tandem
Ensure that once we’re old, we’re all alone—
Modernity’s a cancer.

(First published in The Society of Classical Poets)


Today’s LittleNip:

My biggest problem with modernity may lie in the growing separation of the ethical and the legal.
―Nassim Nicholas Taleb,
The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms


—Medusa, with thanks to Joshua Frank for today’s fine poetry, and to Joe Nolan for the photos of mothering for our Seed of the Week


A reminder that
Lara Gularte will hold an
Ekphrastic workshop at
Switchboard Gallery
Placerville today, 5:30pm.
(Be sure to sign up.)
For info about this and other
future poetry happenings in
Northern California and otherwheres,
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