When hearing the word “demon,” most people think of something dark, maybe in the form of a spirit. Everyone has heard about demons before, but most people barely know what they are. We have different views on demons, but the general definition is that they are unclean spirits, fallen angels. Demons could be something that possesses you.
Today’s article is about demonic poetry. Not every poem is about the demon himself, but each has a demonic touch to it. If you’re pondering about the idea of demons, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one.
I take bread and wine,
and the demon farts and giggles,
at my letting God out of my mouth
at the anonymous altar.
Demon is written in a stream-of-consciousness style, with the speaker’s thoughts and emotions flowing freely. Anne Sexton’s usage of imagery suggests that the speaker’s inner demon is a force that is both destructive and life-giving, much like death. The reference to “bread and wine” and the demon “farting and giggling” at the anonymous altar suggests a sacrilegious and irreverent attitude towards religion, possibly indicating the speaker’s frustration and disappointment with traditional spirituality.
Anne Sexton has depicted a deeply personal and introspective exploration of the human experience and the relationship between the self and the darker aspects of the self. It highlights the struggle to accept and understand these parts of ourselves, and the societal pressure to suppress them.
In silence, languish on this narrow spot,
Of brutal jealousy the slave….”
Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov utilizes the demon perspective to describe the world as cold and unforgiving, where beauty is fleeting and everything ultimately leads to misery. The author talks about how love is ephemeral and how people eventually become tired of it. He also mentions that it is not the fate of the person being addressed, “Tamára,” to be trapped in a situation of jealousy and despair.
Throughout The Demon, the poem has offered a perspective through the demon that love is a physical, almost animalistic, sensation, and the current state of existence is a form of living death. Since life and love are transient, brief, and unsatisfying, the author reminds us to be mindful and realistic about the nature of love and existence, and to be aware of the potential for disappointment and pain.
But the sparks in his hair
Were aglitter and bursting phosphorous,
And the giant did not hear
The dark Caucasus greying for sorrow.
To The Memory Of Demon has a melancholic and nostalgic tone, as it speaks about the memory of the demon and how the speaker remembers him coming in the blue of the glacier, at night. The use of imagery in the poem such as the “blue of the glacier” and “the nightmares should boom, where to bar them” creates a sense of eerie and mysterious atmosphere, which adds to the melancholic tone of the poem. Also, “hunchback shadows, distressed” and “the dark Caucasus greying for sorrow” contribute to the somber atmosphere of the poem and reinforces the idea of the demon being associated with death.
Some elements of symbolism and metaphor are contained in the poem, such as the demon representing death and detachment from the suffering of others. Boris Pasternak exploits the contrast between the demon’s bright, sparkling presence and the sorrowful surroundings, in order to make a commentary on the fleeting and temporary nature of life and the inevitability of death.
He had no faith in love or freedom;
He looked on life with ridicule-
And in the whole of nature
He did not wish to praise a single thing.
This “evil genius” can be interpreted as a metaphor for a demon, a supernatural being that tempts and corrupts the speaker’s thoughts and emotions. The demon is described as having a mysterious and menacing presence, with a smile and words that are venomous and filled with frozen poison. He tempts the speaker with negative thoughts, dismissing beauty, inspiration, love, and freedom as illusions. This can be seen as a representation of how demons, in mythology and literature, are often portrayed as tempters and corrupters of human emotions and thoughts.
Demon by Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin discusses the idea that demons can be internal as well as external, it’s not just a physical being but also a psychological state that can corrupt one’s mind and emotions. The demon in the poem is not just a supernatural being but also an embodiment of the speaker’s negative thoughts and emotions.
To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav’n.
Paradise Lost begins with Satan, the fallen angel, and his followers being cast out of Heaven and into Hell. Satan, who is the main character in this book, is described as a powerful and charismatic leader, yet also as a being filled with pride and ambition. He rallies his followers and inspires them to rebel against God and attempt to overthrow his rule.
John Milton mentions free will and the consequences of actions when Satan and his followers are punished for their rebellion, while Adam and Eve are given the gift of free will but warned of the consequences of disobedience. Milton also uses the poem to explore the nature of good and evil, as well as the relationship between God and man. He presents Satan as the embodiment of evil, while God is the embodiment of good. The poem also explores the idea of sin and redemption, as Satan and his followers are punished for their rebellion, but may yet be redeemed if they repent and seek forgiveness.
In conclusion, demons have been a recurring theme in poetry and literature. These five poems offer a wide range of perspectives on the nature of demons and their role in human life and the topics of free will, sin, and redemption, along with the concept of good and evil. They also present demons as a representation of negative thoughts and emotions, as well as a metaphor for the darker aspects of human nature. I hope you’ve had an interesting read, and if you want more, check out these articles:
- 11+ Best Poems For The Soul Everyone Should Read
- 14+ Best Poems About Chaos
- 10 Comforting Poems About Guardian Angel Watching Over You
- 7 Bat Mitzvah Candle Lighting Poem Examples to Learn From
Thomas Dao is the guy who created Poem Home, a website where people can read about all things poetry related. When he’s not busy working on his next project, you can find him reading a good book or spending time with family and friends.