The devil looks down
At the motley clan
And he smiles a crooked smile.
They’re stumbling, they’re faltering,
They’re marching single file
Across the winding, narrow track.
One lowly Pilgrim leaves the pack
And stands alone, still.
He wants to rest awhile
Just for a little while
Under the devil’s laughing eyes
And his crooked, yellow smile.
The devil releases his loyal mutt,
Acedia is its name,
It’s a Mongrel of the mangy sort,
Secreting guilt and shame.
Acedia is a lazy breed
And It does not pursue:
It waits upon the Pilgrim,
Just as it waits for you.
The Pilgrim lurches, moves again
And Acedia begins to cry
A piteous howl that cracks the sky.
The Pilgrim tries to run away,
But one can’t run on feet of clay,
And his mind is dragged to Things Beneath.
The Sword of the Spirit stays in its sheath,
Blunted, rusted, from disuse
Stained orange-red from misuse,
As a weapon of Condemnation.
The Helmet of Salvation
that rested upon The Pilgrim’s mind
is lost, missing,
Howls, howls, howls
Until The Hound of Heaven growls
Closing The Mongrel’s gaping maw
In The Name of Grace and Law.
Grace from above, Grace rediscovered,
The Pilgrim’s Helmet is recovered
And he begins to move again:
Still afraid, still in pain,
But not alone, not forlorn:
The Path ahead is cruciform.
This one comes from a myriad of influences, including Terence Malick’s “Knight of Cups”, Kirkegaard’s “Fear and Trembling”, Francis Thompson’s “The Hound of Heaven” and, of course, Philippians 3: 12-16.