The Philosophy of Pitchforks

Sue Owen

In the dark pit of hell,
I imagine that the pitchfork
comes in pretty handy
to hurl the evil ones
into their pitch-black places,
hurls, flings, and tosses
them down as a part of
their permanent torment there.
And as I imagine how those
sharp prongs of the pitchfork
sort and pierce, I can
almost hear the agony
of the bodies in pain, their
tongues uncurling in those
sounds of grief that rise
up to my ears like flames.
And I can imagine how
that busy pitchfork there must
feel, just doing the job
that the Devil and destiny
created for it, as it enforces
the laws of punishment,
and must remain pitiless,
because it has the dark heart
or, of course, is heartless.
Isn’t that the point here,
the plan for justice, that the
pitchfork play its part well?
Reprinted by permission of Louisiana State University Press from The Devil's Cookbook by Sue Owen. Copyright © 2007 by Sue Owen.

Further Reading

Poems About Hell
The Aeneid, Book VI, [First, the sky and the earth]
by Virgil
A Myth of Devotion
by Louise Glück
A Season in Hell
by Arthur Rimbaud
Canto XIV
by Ezra Pound
Descriptions of Heaven and Hell
by Mark Jarman
Hellish Night
by Arthur Rimbaud
How Can It Be I Am No Longer I
by Lucie Brock-Broido
I Am a Cowboy in the Boat of Ra
by Ishmael Reed
by Patricia Smith
by Jack Spicer
Proverbs of Hell
by William Blake
Silence Raving
by Clayton Eshleman
Slim Greer in Hell
by Sterling A. Brown
Song of Devils
by Thomas Shadwell
Strange Meeting
by Wilfred Owen
by Dana Levin
The Bistro Styx
by Rita Dove
The Dead
by Mina Loy
The Pomegranate
by Eavan Boland
Worst Things First
by Mark Bibbins