The Devil’s view

“Let the devil take a view,”
a winding, weathered old lady muttered
as she weaved a way
crashing along and through
the throng that had gathered
on the station concourse,
staring at times that ticked toward
soft worn sofas,
and well watched series.

“D’you mind?” called the corpulent chap
she’d collided with seconds before
and whose second Evening Standard,
slipped the fold of the first and slid to the floor,
under the foot of a girl with too many bags, whose own slide
lasted a half a blink of an eye,
before being swallowed by her desirous rush
for a cab to an interview, a job for which
she was never qualified.

“Brilliant,” she thought as she saw the line
snaking away along the stubby line of black taxis.
Tapping on a window she was met with an unseeing finger,
pointing, at the same invertebrate she’d just surveyed.
“Wait,” the unseeing mouth uttered soundlessly,
and its unseeing hand turned the page of The Sun,
to page three – always to page three.
“Let the devil take a view,” he could have thought,
If he’d been aware of his history.

But of course he was.
The Devil, that is. He was,
Oh so aware, and oh so happy to intervene.
He struck the strings of the marionettes twitching and falling
before him, and roared with laughter at the old lady
casting papers and persons in her wake.
“My design, my design, I laugh at that one’s grimace,
and it’s all from my design.”
The Devil was proud, as you would have guessed.
His arrogance smelt sore,
only with himself impressed.

And then his view, taken
from his fawning grasp
blurred and adopted his reflection, now aghast
at the snip snapped lines from his hand to the dolls
strings that before twanged, hung loose and droll.
“D’you mind?” called out the Devil, quite loudly.
“Not in the least,” the people could have replied proudly,
but they’d not seen, how they’d prepared the bed
in which now they lay.

“Are you in a rush, my love?” said a man in the taxi queue,
to the girl with too many bags.
“You can jump in front of me, if that helps?” he said,
reaching down and picking up one of her load that had fled her attentions.
“D’you mind?” she asked, relieved, flustered.
“Never you mind,” he said.
“I bloody well mind,” screamed the Devil at this
last and latest act of generosity.
His face filled with rage and fizzed at the fear of his game’s undoing.

The next view he took, he carefully planned again;
painted, cultivated even: “Back to my darling dervish,
the whirling muttering wizard,”
he simpered to himself. Oh, how his vision shuddered,
and sulphur flowed hot tears scorching his sizzling face:
“Excuse me, mister,” his favoured pet was calling out,
picking from the floor,
where she’d tramped and scuffed the scorched earth marble tiles.
A man turned: “This yours, mate?” she cried
waving a small book, leather clothed and brown.
The man – besuited, thick coated, exhausted –
his head slumped forward and he shook loose a laugh.
“Thank you so much,” he said softly.
“Might I help you out with a few pounds for some food?”

The Devil tore out hair.
The Devil raged and smashed fists against walls.
Not his own of course;
a ready supply to him always is available.
He was angry. He was mad.
He was the Devil, after all.
Anger sustained him, painted the walls of his domain
crimson and scorched.
His fury could not rest
but on places of interrupted dismay.
And so that was the view he took,
each and every day.

Image: Lucifer, by Jackson Pollock

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