Kalends Poem by David Plantinga


According to astrology,
The stars arrange themselves to bind
The destinies of humankind
Born under their hegemony.
What malice made those twinkling lights
Murder my children, and yet spare
A father to forever bear
Grief that embitters, and ignites
A hatred for my very birth,
And the cursed womb that gave me life.
Thrust in this vale of loss and strife,
Pushed through that vile and bloody firth,
I live and suffer till I die.
Are the stars locked in crystal spheres
To trace their paths throughout the years,
Quite powerless to nullify,
The ruin and the doom they chart?
Or do they skip across the void,
Giddy, and cruel, and overjoyed
To wither a poor father's heart?
If they're condemned to blight
The fate of any mortal born
Under their aegis, they must mourn
The sentences their glint must write.
If merciful, those stars must share
The misery their shining brings,
And their own brittle glimmerings
Must lance their conscience with despair.
Extinguishing those stars that kill
Unwillingly is clemency.
Annihilation sets them free.
But if they're vicious, it will thrill
My aching spirit to snuff out
Ill-omened and malignant stars,
Child-murderers, and the bêtes noires
Of fathers, even if devout.
Such wicked lights disgrace the night,
So, emptied, let that banner shut.
An expanse cleansed of glittery smut
Contracts so closely and so tight
No spirit banished from its rest
Can enter through that dismal gate,
Once happy, now disconsolate,
Dropped in a world they will detest.
Into that gap, the day before
And the day afterward will close.
So that cursed hour cannot expose
A naked child to famine, war,
Plague, and the agonies this world.
Inflicts upon the bad and good.
If in the womb, I'd understood
The pain awaiting, I'd have curled
Up tighter and would lock my knees.
Shutting the door, I would return
To a green glade and gurgling bourn,
A haven from atrocities.

Job curses the day he was born.
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