Thursday, April 5, 2012

Comparing Serpents - 5/30

Okay, I already wrote a poem for today, but then I saw the prompt Hillary Kobernick posted on her blog, and I couldn't refuse.

Sometimes evil is hilarious. Sometimes evil is so tragic you forget what alive is. Evil often gets personified in the Devil, and so today’s prompt is to write about the Devil. Maybe he’s misunderstood. Maybe he really is evil. Maybe he’s a she. Lucille Clifton has a series of poems about the Devil, whom she calls Lucifer, some of which can be found here. Scroll down to the very bottom and you’ll find “lucifer speaks in his own voice.”

Write a poem from the voice of the Devil, or one that tells the story about the Devil. If it helps, start with a character sketch: jot down several things you know to be true about the Devil.
 Hitting on a very provocative topic, I got something pretty interesting out of it today. So, lucky you, you get a twofer today!

Comparing Serpents

You know me as the serpent,
the hissing libido
between Adam and his Eve,
my belly slick and plump
despite the imprecation of dust.
You know me as the serpent,

but that brazen snake
transfixed and raised over
the peregrine law-giver’s hoar,
that isn’t me.
The bringer of pomegranate-
encapsulated light,
I am no Nehushtan.
Do not paint me with
such insulting stripes.
Sheitan suits me better.

While all of those sand-licking Israelites
doubled over with bellies
enflamed by my sibilance,
it was not me in my stolen identity
held aloft in cleansing foreshadowing.
That repugnant pole,
Nehushtan,
God removing all I dared wage
in vengeance,
in fairness.

You knew me as the serpent,
but never let such slander
slip across your lips again.
I am no messianic Nehushtan.
From me, you'll only get sin.

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