evil vs.morality

The tongues of hell

Impure, dull fat Chthonic who wheezes
at hell’s gate. Incapable
of licking a soul clean- that indelible smell.

Hatred, the low smoke of Patroclus
haunting a body- like Cerberus
choking the aged and the meek.

The hothouse greases their bodies like
bomb ash, radiation turns
white- their skin grows heavy as a

Lecher’s kiss. Dark as a lantern flickering
on, off, on off.
God’s head is a moon searching for bodies.

He plays down the pardon for the bearded
apple garden; good and evil
grow on trees. White and black beasts

Paler than the cross. They were once living,
now dead crying in hell.
Satin’s sullen face like a mudcracked church;

He fiddles a hymnal with his long black hair.
The steeple bells are like empty
wells for lost souls- they cleave in the clapper;

The priests crouch, humped in silence. Jesus
surrenders to their obituaries.
He is a lean undertaker in their empty pulpits.

The bond is canceled, and the prayers are no
longer heard; they seem long
and weak in the bodiless hell pit of earth.

Dayadhvam and the aethereal rumors, a revival
for a moment; the devil is no
hand expert. He speaks with a controlling tongue.

The tongues of hell

Lady Madonna

I walked alone in a multitude of loves-
the preacher’s, the wise men’s,
the Jesus’ father-
my miraculous virginity leapt up to the
heavens, upending lightning,
down to Galilee’s deep sea pillow,
where once I was married alone; my
lips catching an avalanche of
sacramental salt, ringed with tidal pools-
for a chosen woman sleeps
where the shore courses through her soul.

This was all approved in the proverbs
(a moral mousetrapped parody),
the nun blacked chased women; sheathed
the virgin shape to baffle all
pursuers, save one, a man called
Joseph- goat thighed and god haloed;
twined his hard hands around
my thigh like ivy, bit my Puritan lip
like a sacrificial lamb, pale, pith and bloody;
our fame soared past the
ecclesiastical brethren, soon wore the

Leafy crowns to a manger. Dark days to
follow after a birth, a shrouded
Turin; splayed too long in the boughs
of heresy. Cast a stone, iron,
merds. Stiff as twigs in an eye. His
body is askew in this doomsday neglect.
Untongued, cross-twisted, his
righteous anatomy till the steeple breaks.
His consecrated limbs and lip
to Christian’s chastity service; his
house is a decayed house.

Lady Madonna

85 comments on “evil vs.morality

  1. João-Maria says:

    The tongues of hell is marvelously well constructed. I’m not, as you know, apt for spiritual things, but I loved the references to Patroclus’s cremation, to the “lecherous” and the aspect of thunderous compassion in the last stanza. It’s quite textured. I wish I was able to gather such strings into an indivisible expression.
    Also, Lance, I included you in a Recommended Page in my blog. I hope you don’t mind, but if you do, just tell me and I’ll fix it!

    • Joao-Maria, I’m so appreciative of your wonderful thoughtfulness and kind support of my work. Your reviews of my poetry are truly inspirational. And, I’m very honored that you’ve included me in a Recommended Page in your blog! Blessings, my friend.

  2. weedjee says:

    When you read poems by Lance knocking on heaven’s door at wormbook libraries… deja vu experiences

  3. murisopsis says:

    You are a wordsmith for sure and certain. This is very dense and dark and like the line “twined his hard hands around my thigh like ivy” these word have twined through my mind.

  4. Barbara Kasey Smith says:

    Mercy, Lance, deep in thought are the images confronting this reader, imaginary circumstances are attained – I’d say, “Profound, anticipation, and excellent!”

  5. Lance, I had to brush up on my mythology to fully understand the first poem. You caused me to learn something, as well as feel something. Thank you.

  6. The images you create rival Dante, Lance.

  7. My friend Lance, this is very deep and wonderful poem! I read it three times to understand its deep meanings. Your prose is amazing!

  8. Oh Lance, I review no one else like you!
    This should be taken as a compliment:)
    You not only lay down words, you lay down sensations, vivid scenes, causing strong reactions in the reader (in this case in me:)
    All hell’s spirits trying to lick a condemned soul clean is a horrifying image.
    “…heavy as a Lecher’s kiss. “
    “God’s head is a moon searching for bodies.” Such an image..like searchlight sweeping the floors of hell!
    Jesus’s relationship to the modern day priests: “He is a lean undertaker in their empty pulpits.”

    In Lady Madonna we hear her own account in first person, of her tale. ending in a decaying house of, the Church founded on her son’s short life and death, final chapter of his saga.// Interesting the tone is a bit sarcastic as she recalls that her destiny (it’s hazy if she had foreknowledge, but there is a tone) she moves in a leap from the manger to the shroud of Turin…and the memory of her child, now pulled on to the cross, his body askew, over a house,(The Church) now at its own particular End of Times.

    As always Lance, your well chosen words, descriptive visions of horror and despair are very powerful and make a statement, that neither the tongues of hell nor “morality” are very positive outcomes.
    The tongues of hell are truly frightening, and Lady Madonna’s tale, from an aspect of literature, not religion, is truly a heart-breaking tragedy… Bravo once again, my friend!

    • Dear Karima, in addition to your incredible gift as a writer, visual artist, supporter of literary authors, your reviews deeply connect to what makes a poet tick. Not only do you grasp the meaning of the written word, you turn it into a temple. One where the literary world returns to time and time again for support and recognition. Your, my dear friend, are the light of what dreams are made of. I not only salute you for this, but who you are as a person- one with a deep soul. Blessings.

      • My pleasure each and every time when I read your latest poem. You are always a surprising multi layered poet and you make me think, so I may better appreciate your symbolism, your metaphor, your unique style…

      • Your exceptional support of so many writers is wonderfully uplifting, Karima! Thank you.

    • Karima, I graciously appreciate the compliment. My deepest appreciation!

    • After re-reading my comment, I want to add something very vital, I did not say, but meant to say.
      The Church, founded on her son’s short life, death and resurrection..the final chapter of his saga.

  9. Thank you for your words, Lance !

  10. My brain is pulsing. Two awesome poems! At first I started to pick out lines I especially liked, but there are too many strong, gut-punching phrases.

  11. “Dayadhvam” reminded me of Wasteland! Very deep and moving poems. Love the juxtaposition of evil and morality. Too many wonderful phrases, to quote a couple would be injustice to the rest!

    • My utmost gratitude and sincere appreciation for your wonderful thoughtfulness. Thank you!

      • You are kindly welcome.

        I had left a comment on your last post too. Either it is languishing in spam or has been swallowed by WP.

      • More than likely ‘canned spam’. I make a concerted effort to respond to all comments; as well as write comments on fellow writers posts. My humble apologies if I somehow overlooked yours. I am deeply grateful for your marvelous support of my poetry. Best wishes, Lance.

      • You have always responded almost immediately to my comments, which is a quality I would love to imbibe. WP gremlins are always up to some mischief! I just wanted you to know that since I have started following your blog, I haven’t missed any of your posts. I learn something new every time I visit your blog. 🙏🏼

      • You are so very kind… my deepest thanks for you doing so. Yes, WP must first iron the kinks in its armor before trying to put a new one together. Thank you, for your tireless efforts. Without them, a writer wouldn’t be a writer.

  12. Love it you take the visual to the darker side of life. Majority feel the will enter the upper realms of afterlife with not a thought of where Evil has lured them with “the devil is no
    hand expert. He speaks with a controlling tongue.”

    They have been lead astray to spend eternity in the depths of despair. Even God searches for some to be retrieved usually they are too fallen for this.

    Lady Madonna walks through her life, a chosen life and to the marriage with her husband Josef. The birth of her son a Divine one, to watch her son die in a tortuous way. Those following her son created a religion which is now decaying as they did not adhere to his teachings. All of this now has passed from her life that once was.

  13. Devon Brock says:

    Stunning indictment, Lance. I needn’t repeat what Puzzles of the Soul already stated.


  14. molekulka says:

    “Will you name him or not?”

    You don’t have to believe in God

    That you could live your life

    Believe it or not

    He creates your life

    On earth and in heaven

    His energy fills you

    Do you want it or not

    Without his energy, you and I would not be there

    Nothing would exist but even nothing

    It would be created by God

    Will you name him or not?

    He creates the universe of you and me


  15. molekulka says:

    I translated your poem Lady Madonna
    Translate Google I know that if I read your English poem it would be accurate, but I don’t know English and I need to use a translator.
    I don’t know if I understood your poem correctly. You write hard about God, we people like to complicate everything unnecessarily, because we use our mind
    and talk to God the language of the heart
    . Best regards :))

    • I’m very appreciative and deeply honored- thank you.
      I write hard about God in the sense on how he is tormented by nonbelievers. And, you’re so right about how we complicate everything unnecessarily. Best wishes, Lance.

  16. molekulka says:

    Do you know the language of the heart?

  17. samustaad says:

    It was quite captivating….

  18. Kaykayo says:

    What your poem evokes are in our most inner thoughts, but it will be part of our actions.

  19. Nilesh Kumar says:

    Wooow! Lance Your peom are amazing it’s wonderful

  20. Sabiscuit says:

    This was an inspiring set of verses. I like the feeling of reading a saga in poetry form. We have context from culture and history and contrary from our personal experiences. I feel like it would sound brilliant with some techno classical pop crossover music in the background while it’s being narrated. Something like Enigma circa 1992.

    • What a resounding review of my poems… I especially like, “I feel like it would sound brilliant with some techno classical pop crossover music in the background while it’s being narrated. Something like Enigma circa 1992.” I’m super appreciative of your open-mindedness. Thanks so sincerely!

  21. Nice poems you have here.

  22. Garima Puri says:

    Amazing poem sir 👌👌

  23. Isha Garg says:

    Oh this is intense… I could imagine it being read to drum beats, for some reason, at a poetry reading!

  24. lampmagician says:

    Generously again I see you’re granting us with so many worthy great poems of yours, thank you my friend; I must keep them all to read and read them again and again. 🙏🙏💖

  25. So good to have you back, Lance! Always a pleasure a read your work and try & interpret it!

  26. depatridge says:

    Reblogged this on The Searchlight and commented:
    Really interesting and thought out poem.

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