A green taloned hedge, so massive
a dove could not flutter over, so dense
an armored snake could not slip beneath—
This was the obstacle
between the Fiend and earthly delight!
chin in hand, he studied the situation.
Of course, far on the other side
of the Garden, due east, there was a gate,
if he chose to hike the border and rap
on the front door. What the Fiend
puzzled over, at the moment,
was not the trouble of getting in,
which for an angel was minimal,
but this curious pretense of a barricade—
Why make it so fraught yet convenient
to break into a park that, no matter how
buxom, was merely a dull facsimile of bliss?
This was the kind of setup that had always
irritated him—the King’s cunning
propensity for dramatic ambiguity, “free will”
with a catch, not to mention
these ridiculous processional formalities.
“Ugh,” muttered the Fiend;
and with a contemptuous snap of his wings
at one slight bound he leaped over the hedge,
landing on his feet as briskly as a cat
dropping through a hen-house window
into a huddle of fat chicks.
Then up he flew, up to the middle tree,
the highest that grew in the yard, and perched,
kneecaps tucked to his ears,
black as a cormorant in the frilled branches;
and there he devised his next really good idea.