Peter Russell

(1921-2003 / Bristol)

One Possessed


O who will slake the Devil's thirst?
O who will bring me Bread and Wine?
Who was it first that ever cursed
And turned the Angels into swine?

A demon black who stands aloof
A horned matron with her veils
A Virgin with a cloven hoof
A nixie with twin tails

Medusa with her serpent hair
Vile Scylla with her monstrous pups
An outsize toad, a smiling bear,
The Knave of Hearts with all his cups

My Lord Archbishop, sly and cruel,
Who leads me to the sacrifice
A sorceress with a poisonous jewel
A hermit picking at his lice

A serpent nailed upon the Cross
A harlot weeping in her hair
Urchins who play at pitch and toss
Beneath the cold Mother's stare

These healing figures haunt my dreams
Curdle my blood with ice-cold fear
They hang me from the highest beams
And quench my fevers with their leer

O who will slake the Devil's thirst?
O who will bring me Bread and Wine?
Who was the first that ever cursed
And turned the Angels into swine?

Submitted: Tuesday, May 20, 2014

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