The Devil and I
Late last night the Devil came a-calling,
He appeared from within my second bottle of wine,
Wearing a hat and bow, looking mighty fine;
But also a coat of arrogance, rather appalling
Now, we go quite some ways back, he and I;
So, his arrival I met with little surprise,
I watched in silence as he took a seat,
And snapped his dainty fingers, to turn up the heat; causing my cat to beat a hasty retreat
Once settled, He looked at me with a Businessman’s eye,
And smiled a smile, nigh impossible to deny;
In a stately baritone, as seductive as it was rich,
He forewent the pleasantries, and began right away with his sales pitch
‘’Now, dear boy,’’ said He, ‘’we’ve skated around the park before, never reaching a conclusion.
I’ve been busy of late ‘tis true, after all, there’re so many of you willing to sell their souls; and for such paltry desires too.
But now I’m here for you with my undivided attention, and of leaving without clinching a deal, I have no intention.
For, battered and bruised though it is, you have the soul of a poet; and those crown jewels, I have in my hoard very few.’’
‘’So, tell me, my boy,’’ he went on, pausing to light a cigar that breathed out black fumes, ‘’what impossibility can I offer that is precious to you?
Is it 200 years of life you seek? Or is it the beloved who broke your measly heart that you want at your feet?
Or will it be untold riches, fame and power or an unending string of beauties that serve only you?
Is it one of the above, is it all or are there even more gains you can conceive? Just say the words and I’ll make them yours; trust me, for in my contract, there is no deceit.’’
I pondered for a moment, then looked him in the eye and offered my reply, ‘’ Give me all of it or give me none of it, but you will not have the promise of my soul before,
You give me your word that whatever you grant me in exchange for it, will keep me happy evermore.
In truth, all I want from you is the gift of eternal Happiness for each moment of as long as I live,
Now compared to all the mountains you were ready to move for my soul, isn’t that just such a tiny morsel to give?’’
The Devil gaped and glowered, and then hemmed and hawed; for the first time since he entered my room, he seemed put out of his easy stride.
‘’What is this foolishness you ask for?’’ he roared. ‘’This ‘happiness’ is no real thing, it is but a fleeting illusion that occasionally flatters to deceive; but never does it abide.
It is some blithe spirit that you humans chase after all your life, and yet whenever you happen upon it, you find a way to drive away,
It is some curious chimera that all the riches, pleasures and fulfilled wants don’t alongside bring, yet sometimes it blooms in as little and as tiny as solitary snowflake.
It plays by its own rules, comes and goes as it pleases; appears on a smile or even a sigh,
It is not something I have to give, and, I’ll have you know, neither does the Other Guy.’’
‘’So don’t waste my time with such frivolous fantasy, think again and lay your true desires before me,
Ask for that which you may taste, touch and feel, something to soothe those wounds, both seen and unseen;
Ask for lifetimes, requited love, riches, revenge and even redemption, if that your pleasure be,
Just forget about this fickle wandering wisp, which has never true to anyone been.’’
‘’Sorry, Sir Devil,’’ countered I. ‘’But my mind is made up after a listless lifetime of flirting with fleeting pleasures such,
If my soul you must have then you must first bind me to happiness, and from this demand I will not budge.
Give me all you offer, but only if they make me -and keep me – happy forever as long as I breathe,
For if I should henceforth feel even the twinge of sadness, this contract for my soul, you must cede.’’
The devil grumbled and showered angry sparks as I made clear my intractable disposition,
But for all his sleight and might, he abides by a code, and no doubt realized his untenable position;
So, with surprising grace, he doffed his hat and pronounced, ‘’I’ll return the day you rue this unfortunate decision.’’
Then with great dexterity, he dove back into the bottle of wine and made a rapid transition.
Late last night the Devil, in his spiffy coat and tail, came a-calling,
He brought along his bag of tricks, with lust, lucre and all such baubles replete;
But he learned some gifts we Humans must flounder and earn, then lose and retrieve,
And Happiness is for us to find, not for his kind to mete.