One (1979) A policy is still in place Which subjugates each woman’s womb. Spin doctors cannot render grace When pregnancy begets a tomb. Before the mother sees a face, Her green is plucked in fetal bloom. The thefts till now are hard to trace When pregnancy begets a tomb. Girl babies the males do displace Since daughters leave home for their groom; Thus, men enjoy an honored space When pregnancy begets a tomb. The girls who’ve died earth can’t replace, And Truth’s cloaked in a red costume. This program is the world’s disgrace When pregnancy begets a tomb. Such evil we need to erase, Though shrouded in another room. We all belong to the same race When pregnancy begets a tomb. The policy goes on apace— Its destined death we can’t assume— So battle all must now embrace When pregnancy begets a tomb. Virtue’s Slave Today it’s so very hard to live right, yet does this imply that we shouldn’t try? We should slave for virtue with all our might. Myriad temptations arrest our sight, filling our hearts with lusts to gratify— Today it’s so very hard to live right. When the world’s blazing richness works to ignite our angst, and we burn for joy wealth can buy, we should slave for virtue with all our might. Secular sermons entice us to fight against ourselves, our sacred spark deny— Today it’s so very hard to live right. When our days are barraged by subdued spite, and sorrows throng like clouds in a vicious sky, we should slave for virtue with all our might. In a murky world, we must all recite a guiding mantra till the night we die: “Today it’s so very hard to live right; I must slave for virtue with all my might.” The Last Column Lines inspired by the 9/11 Memorial A shaft of steel rises erect its dappled surface all bedecked small reminders for all who come this was and is the last column. After the soaring spires were wrecked, into madness the heroes trekked. Their sacrifice, a gruesome sum, is blazoned on the last column, a sight that sears us with respect, a sight that prods us to reflect: when terror dropped its wicked plumb, most nobly stood the last column. But chaos had an architect, a hate that grows if left unchecked. Still pounding on a martial drum they vilify the last column. These tyrants of a hateful sect both liberty and life reject, and lest to them our world succumb we must arise, the last column. Ron L. Hodges is a long-time English teacher, having taught at Oxford Academy in Cypress, California, for the past ten years. About a year ago he started writing poetry. He lives in Orange County, California with his wife and two sons. Featured Image: "Magnificat"