Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "Changing Places"

This poem came out of the February 4, 2020 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired and sponsored by Anthony and Shirley Barrette. It also fills the "Breaking the Rules" square in my 2-1-20 card for the Valentines Bingo fest.


"Changing Places"


It's an old dance,
but a new tune, and
the Devil doesn't like it.

He only meant to tease people.

He never intended it to go this far,
never wanted to destroy the world.

He just wanted to ... play with it a little.

But now mankind is wrecking everything,
and soon there won't be anything left
for the Devil to play with anymore.

The thought makes him uncomfortable.
He doesn't like that feeling either.

So the Devil goes looking for
his old adversaries. He goes
to the Church. Surely there he
can find priests to pick up
the pieces for him.

What he finds is
worse than he
ever imagined.

The church folks
are using his lines.

They're preaching hate
instead of love, and the priests
are certainly not being celibate.

The Devil pries one off an altar boy
and punts him straight to Hell.

He puts on the empty vestments.
They singe a little, but oh well.

The altar boy is staring.

The Devil points at the cabinet
where the supplies are stored --
no way is he touching that --
and the altar boy scrambles
to fetch what is needed.

The child doesn't seem afraid
of him, though, just stunned.

Apparently the priest was
scarier than the Devil himself.
Well, that's disturbing.

It's time for the service.

Been a while, but the Devil can
cite Scripture for his purpose.

It's never been like this before,
but he knows what he needs
to do: it's the same dance,
they're just changing places.

He's seen the smoke, thick
and choking as brimstone.
He knows the numbers,
and they make him sick.

Was not mankind placed
on Earth to husband the gift
that God had given them?

The Devil looks out over
the gathered congregation,
men in suits and women
in prim Sunday dresses.

They are about to get a sermon
that they will never forget.

* * *

Notes:

"The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
An evil soul producing holy witness
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart.
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!"
William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, spirituality, weblit, writing
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