. The Snuff Box from a true story told in My Mother by Fr. Bernard Vaughan (1847-1922) When I was just a little boy, My mother served us shepherd’s pie. We thirteen children sniffed with joy, With statue faces, on the sly. But quenching hunger was my goal, So while my siblings sat in place, I cast aside my self-control And rammed my slice right in my face. My father said, “How poor a thing To be your appetite’s mere slave And let it lead you by a string— Its end could be an early grave.” My whole head redder than a finch’s, I said, “When Mother brings you snuff, Each day you’re taking giants’ pinches! A small amount should be enough!” My father stared at me; when done, He finally cleared his throat, then said, “Come bring the snuff box here, my son.” I fetched the box, returned with dread. He held the box and raised his hand, Said as he hurled it to the fire, “There goes the box and its demand, That bit of slavery of desire.” I’ve never since let appetite Enslave or lead me like a beast. This cleared my mind to see God’s light And hear His call to be a priest. . . The Little Boy Who Disobeyed from a true story told in Spiritual Crumbs for Hungry Little Souls by Mary E. Richardson My mother said, “Don’t look, don’t talk, Don’t stop, just hurry as you walk.” She sent me to the grocer’s store— I never saw her anymore. Right at the corner of the street, A circus train came—what a treat! Like King David, I stopped to look— Some men jumped out, and me, they took. They grabbed and gagged, they bound my hands, They carted me to distant lands To lift and stoop and toil away For eighteen hours every day. At twenty, finally, I escaped, Returning home, all bruised and scraped, To tell my mother, long delayed: “I never should have disobeyed.” But to the door, a lady came; To her I told my mother’s name. “I hate to bring bad news,” she said. “Your mother dear is long since dead.” I ran so fast, on feet to fly, While praying it was all a lie, But in the churchyard where I’d flown, I saw my mother’s name in stone. So please, oh please, go warn some others: “Obey your fathers and your mothers!” Or someday they might meet my fate— God punished me; it’s now too late. . . Joshua C. Frank works in the field of statistics and lives near Austin, Texas. His poetry has also been published in the Asahi Haikuist Network.