“It all”, said Satan, ”comes down to imagination.”
Anne Milton was annoyed with him.
He could tell because her lips were thin
And she had slopped tea putting down his saucer.
His fault, really; he shouldn’t have given her the book
A proof copy of Christopher Hill’s great life
Of her brother. Not published yet; not even written
And Professor Hill still centuries away from being born.
But proof copies turn up in odd places.
“You might have told me; it made me feel so lost
Reading that I died years ago.” Satan sipped his tea
Not as hot as it should be and too much honey
“God and Christopher Hill say you are dead
And lying quiet in your grave. I say otherwise;
I say you live here; like the people to your left;
Fight with those who live to the right of you.
It all comes down to imagination. God imagined me
Or, as He likes to say, created. And, to give God his due,
“He made a good job of it. I was a wonderful angel
And, as a demon, who can compare with me?,
It is a poor creature who never fights his creator
A bad son who dies with ‘Yes, Father’ on his lips
I insist you did not die but give me the welcome
Your brother refuses. Two of a trade can never agree
And he and I two rebels. You live, I say again
Because I will have a friend in this cold city.”
Just like that –for every reason and none—
Between a sip and a swallow, her anger faded
“What is it like to be damned?” she said.