paul martin’s dialogue on stem cell

The Great Stem Cell Debate
For Hayden

I met a little stem cell
Who said, “I’m human too.
“It’s possible I could divide
“And then feel pain, like you.”

“Right now,” I said, “You’re like… the same,
“That is, as all your neighbors.
“Undifferentiated as can be –
“You’re lamer than an egg is.”

“An Egg’s not lame!” Sir Stem replied,
“And no, nor Sperm Cells neither.
“If they met, they would divide
“And be like you and me are.”

“I’m not like you,” I countered,
“Please note who wrote this poem.
“Without my fingers at the keys
“No words would you intone.”

“I am a full-fledged Cell!” cried Stem,
“So stop your condescension;
“I hold my rights unconsciously –
“And in God’s name, I’ll mention…”

“But what of us!?” my cells rejoined,
They really were dismayed;
They’d multiplied already
And had a lot to say.

“One hundred trillion of us live
“In just one human being –
“That is, the kind that walks and talks
“And likes the taste of ice cream.”

“Without the needed research
“We prematurely die;
“You’re telling us God likes you best…
“How come – is God a scientist?!”

“Maybe up in heaven, then,
“God’s researching a fix
“For fuzzy stem-cell thinking –
“The kind that makes us sick.”

With that, my cells had had enough,
We had to call it quits;
By now we’re mostly bedridden
Like Petri in a dish.

Paul Martin

Paul Maurice Martin on himself in his blog: I have an M.A. in religious studies from the University of Chicago divinity school and an M.Ed. in counseling from the University of New Hampshire.