The Devil’s Hole

 

     The cave roof was crushed

by the Devil’s clumsy cloven hoof

in an age when he strode alone

before any humans

crossed this granite coast.

Now he summons nature’s pretty forces.

Engrossed

in petty tortures of tourist folk

before they go below to roast.

High jinks and pranks, for the most.

 

     All gods, good and ill,

long ago abandoned this playground.

Leaving him free to plot and scheme

with deviant-schoolboy skills,

weaving nests

to fill with hornets and wasps

and overspilling with other niggling things.

Willing molehills to rise up

and drilling cunning little gullies

to trip or trap (or maybe kill)

the silly walker.

 

     The gorse pricks hikers’ shins

while his remorseless horsefly angels lurk

in the thick bracken

waiting to partake

in their nefarious horseplay:

to sink deep their fiendish hooks,

lock on to bare skin and tear flesh,

sucking the wellspring

of fresh, crimson, human blood,

injecting acid-sharp saliva

to deliver the searing sting

and swell the sickening, itchy ring.

 

     Around this whole domain

the weather remains under his control,

unchained.

Behold...

an eerie rain cloud

casts a scary stain

over the compressed and folded terrain.

Is it that,

or the sinister, cold gust

causing unexpected cocaine-shivers

through the old veins?

 

     The slick granite trail,

insidiously polished

by strolling boot-soles,

is greased by a sneaky sharp shower.

Shining with a slippery,

slimy-lichen sheen,

luring the frail and unsurely footed

into his funnelled hole,

with the pure, mean guile

of some obscure insectivorous plant.

Then, with the vilest smile

(aside, to his fawning crowd)

he tears a gash in the cloud

baring the burning ultraviolet power

of the sun’s proud apotheosis.

Blistering bald heads,

exposed shoulders and

gross bulbous noses.

He howls out loud.

 

     Beware!

It’s not just physical mischief afoot here.

Mind-games are set to test the wits.

Sheer, precarious cliffs

dare the plucky, unaware rambler.

Submitting to the spirit of adventure

they scramble to the foot of the pit.

Forever ensnared there

in eternal despair.

Where God doesn’t care one itsy-bit

and the Devil doesn’t give a shit

(not his job to be fair).

Their prayers submitted up

through the hole’s brackish air

will never be answered,

their souls will never be spared.

How the hole resonates

with the Devil’s clear,

diabolical laugh!

 

     Sea-sounds surround

this crumbled cave.

The round blowhole booms,

the ground quakes,

with Satan’s obscene bellowing

between each pounding

aquamarine wave.

The gulls’ faraway keens

drown in a sonic grave.

For some god’s sake save us.

 

     All this mean sea

in shades of blue and grey and green

but oddly, in the Devil’s Hole...

not one drop of water can be seen.

 

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© lawrence reed 2022