Slow Burn {a #poem}

by | Mar 17, 2012 | Poetry | 4 comments

The safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts. -C.S. Lewis, Screwtape Letters

What is it that deals us our greatest

blows, that is our undoing?
Is it our enemy, the devil?
Or blatant evil, so closely cloaked–
‘live’ spelled backwards?
Were Satan so visible, obvious
he’d be easily stopped or avoided.
Yet hidden behind the dailiness,
the benign and harmless, it isn’t the devil,
but merely distraction and dissipation

that do us in. Like the waning wick of

a candle, our light goes out.

Distracted by the simply innocuous,

surely this couldn’t hurt,
dissipated by attention to frivolity,
certainly I have energy for this as well,
We succumb to defeat.

dissipation—“to lessen one’s effect

or impact, to deflate,”

distraction—“to look away from,

to lose one’s direction and

goal, a mindless diversion.”
There is no actual destruction;

Either way—deflated or diverted,

eventually we fall,
becoming over time,
useless and at last,



  1. Steve, I'll have to agree with you, it is often just my flesh that is my undoing….my “I can do it myself, thank you.” But then, why would Jesus die for me if I could do it?thanks for your thoughts.cheers.

  2. That devil only has to 'work' at tempting the holiest of Peeps. Regular ones (like me?) do his work FOR him/her…and we fall into the trap like a fly-and-spider. Hoever I do believe “evil is live”, and quivering beneath every soul's pillow.God, Jody. thank you.PEACE!

  3. As much a philosophical dissertation as verse. I like the way you incorporate the definitions into the structure of the poem, dissipation and distraction, irony at its finest.

  4. Very effective how you changed the font in that last verse.



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