Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I thought I'd post a poem written under the influence of Paradise Lost. It first appeared in the journal Salamander and, along with three other Fiend poems, will be reprinted in my forthcoming collection How the Crimes Happened, scheduled to be published by CavanKerry Press next April.


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!

Thin-hipped, high-shouldered,

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.

No comments: