An Ancient Futile Rite

Black candles
Made from slaughtered infants’ fat
Grace the points of a pentagram
Writ large in virgins’ blood;
They light-up occult inscriptions
And the twisted face
That mouths their sounds
In the eldritch exclamations
Of spells that had lain dead

For who knows how many years
‘Til this purposeless & empty fool
Had flailed about & struck upon
An evil path to tread
In a spate of catastrophic luck;
He cast about & struck upon
The dark & narrow way
When belief in God & self had failed,
And if offering up their souls
To an anti-Christ could serve
As redemption in a callous world,
Then he would offer them up freely.
He knew no living thing that cared for him,
So he spoke the incantations loud
And offered their souls up
In an ancient futile rite
To gain appreciation
From a fanciful & darksome lord
Who he had no understanding of,
As he did not understand himself;
He’d read, within a thick & time-worn tome,
That souls must be consumed
In preparation for His coming,
Hence the candles and the killing spree—
But, as it happens,
Satan is merely bad intent
Personified by successive hapless fools,
Each become a Satan
In his pathetic turn,
While failing to realize
That his very own soul
Would be consumed
As an offering to himself.

About Steven M. Sloan

Prof. Steven M. Sloan is a scholar, teacher, and poet who has been widely anthologized, as well as widely published in poetry magazines, journals, and newspapers. He is a graduate of the University Of Wisconsin – Whitewater (where he was a member of the Editorial Board for its poetry publication: The Muse), and is also a graduate of the University Of Wisconsin – Madison. he has done many different jobs including college prof., factory worker, swimming instructor & lifeguard, as well as working in cancer research. He is the author of Multiple books or pamphlets of poetry & remains committed to the art. The editor of Columbia Publications has said of him that he is, “a talented poet” whose work, “touches upon many topics and emotions,” and that, “his imagery is characteristically spectacular, as well as thought evoking (Lana M. Wegeng, Editor).” Dana Minor, Editor of the poetry journal: Sublime Odyssey, has said that, “Sloan has a definite capacity for ringing phrases.” Ester Cameron, Editor of The Deronda Review, & The Neovictorian, has said that at their best his lyrics, “have almost a 17th century quality, like Lovelace, Herrick, or Suckling.” He currently lives in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

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