This miserable creature howling on the end of the chain is, I assume, Satan, or at least a devil. His eyes are empty hollows and his face seems to have been damaged, peeled. He is utterly anonymous, stripped naked, with not even a hair. Contempt for him is shown in the cheap wood he is made of and in the thin, mocked-up wings. Whichever saint is standing on his back is, by contrast, fully clothed, coloured, rounded and larger, a person.
I’ll finish with a poem by John Agard:
Hey. None of this Beelzebub business.Lighten up. No more Prince of Darkness
and all that Devil’s Advocate
kind of stuff. I’m your mate.
It’s all right to call me Dev
and I’ll call you Les or Mags or Trev.
Formality stinks. Don’t say evil. Say Ev.
© John Agard from The Devil’s Pulpit (Bloodaxe Books) via The Funny Side: 101 Humorous Poems ed. Wendy Cope (Faber & Faber).