I always used to say that writing poetry was like manufacturing high class gas mantles, however good they were no-one would buy them. (Those of you too young to know what a gas mantle is are young enough to google it.) But poetry is now – well, not fashionable exactly, but no longer as outcast and derided and obsolete as it was thirty or forty years ago, and apparently today is National Poetry Day. So here is a poem. I wrote it about thirty years ago, after an all-nighter at the Scala, if I remember rightly, of Benjamin Christensen’s Häxan and two Kenneth Anger films, Scorpio Rising and Lucifer Rising. Hence the images in the first stanza. The second is – well, what it says. I’m rather inclined to agree with Charlotte Bingham, that the devil won’t turn out to be suave or glamorous, he’ll just be a complete weed, with wet hands.


old women
burn the witch
young men
the devil
devil with horns
flickering tongue
the old snake
satan’s cock is cold and scaly
Burn the witch.

Is the devil a gentleman?
no way.
The devil’s a liar
the devil’s a bastard
the devil never kept a promise in his life.
Only one man ever beat the devil,
got out of this world alive.

Marion Pitman