Most people think that the devil at work
is a creature with horns, a red cape, and a fork
that sneaks up behind us and tells us to sin
whenever we’re tempted to stumble again.
That could be the case if the devil were God
and was at one time everywhere and abroad
and actually used all the power we give him
instead of the fear in which he has been livin’.
But all our mistakes and the folly we live in
result from the chances we think we’ve been given
and choices we make when we try to be level;
the devil just doesn’t have time to be “devil.”
The devil at work isn’t worth the explorin’ –
our pride and our lust will do all the work for him.
For humans, desire can toll
a sense of success for the soul;
but death will begin
with the meaning of sin:
desire that’s out of control.
This limerick is inspired by a couple of lines from James’s epistle to the tribes of Israel:
But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (James 1:14-15)
The featured artwork is The Accommodations of Desire by Salvador Dalí, one of my favorite surrealists.