Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Devils' Ball

©  2016 Steve King
All rights reserved

I watched as Mephistopheles
paraded through the shadowed room,
new spirits of the damned in tow,
come late from unconfining tombs.

The poor fool Faust regrets his lot,
now drawing sneers from those around.
The gilded idols spring to life,
Old Nick commanding without sound.

So here were all the devils met,
with song and sweet carnality,
all hot desire and cold regret,
hospitable as they might be.

Beelzebub appeared at once,
a leaden chalice held aloft.
He meted out the whithered bread,
intoning softly while they quaffed.

No seraph stands with flaming sword,
but writhing serpents guard the doors.
A well-marked Cain with cocktail tray,
still bows for tips the while he pours.

The Banshee comes, her sphinx at heel.
Dear Salome´ spins without care.
Alas, poor Grendel nurses gin,
the sport of devils everywhere.

Deceivers seek for other jobs,
a snare for all who’d listen in.
The Pharaoh’s daughter brings a taste
of bitter fruits for Solomon.

A weary Charon checks each coat,
While Dante marks the grim charade.
Cerberus sniffs for fallen treats.
Tiresias chants a bitter age.

O Star of Morning, Prince of Night!
Whose hand might stay these votaries?
Which prayer upends such dark delights,
misconsecrated reveries?

But who can tell them anything,
so caught up with their vile joys?
The fates are wagered like small change,
whole destinies are played like toys.

For me?  I’m happy to indulge
my tastes for spirits as I find,
and watch these wretches ply their mirth,
scant threats for Armageddon times.

I bid adieu to these mad things,
but someone stumbles in the hall.
I drop my gaze to grant small grace:
no need to watch poor Adam’s fall.