A Limerick ‘Paradise Lost’

After John Milton

Gustave Dore's fallen Satan

Book One

The rebellious Angels come round
In the Pit and they all mill around
For a bit feeling glum.
Satan rallies them. Some
Pull a palace from out of the ground.

Book Two

Then the Fallen fall into debate
Over vengeance. ‘You know what he’d hate?’
Says Beëlzebub. ‘Vice
To be brought to that nice
Little world he’s about to create...’
Book Three

‘Satan’s fled the Abyss! This is bad,’
The Almighty laments. ‘Listen, Dad,’
Offers Jesus, ‘I’ll save
Those he means to deprave
By my sacrifice.’ ‘There’s a good lad.’
Book Four

When the Fiend finds the Garden the guise
Of a toad helps him snoop and spread lies,
But when Gabriel comes
Spitting threats he becomes
Subjugated and takes to the skies.

Book Five

As the Sun rises Raphael’s sent
To remind our First Parents they’re meant
To be humble: ‘You keep
Well away from this creep
Who delights in promoting dissent.’

Book Six

Then the Archangel goes on to tell
Of the war and the traitors who fell.
‘So you both stay alert 
If you want to avert
Being likewise confounded to Hell.’

Book Seven

Re his origin, Adam’s nonplussed,
So Creation is duly discussed.
He is told it took one
Working week, and when done
The All-Knowing made him out of dust.

Book Eight

Adam tells how a rib from his chest
Conjured Eve, and their Maker’s behest
That came afterwards: ‘See
You don’t eat of this tree.
As for everything else, be my guest.’

Book Nine

The Deceiver, in serpentine skin,
Slithers back and gets Eve to tuck in
To prohibited fruit.
Adam shrugs, follows suit
And they’re joined in Original Sin.

Book Ten

The Messiah hurls curses galore:
‘You’ll be mortal henceforth and what’s more
Men must toil in the earth
And when women give birth
They will find it decidedly sore.’ 

Book Eleven

When the Lord lends an ear to their prayers
Michael’s sent down to Earth and declares
‘Out of Eden you go.
Here’s some visions that show
Why your children will curse their forbears.’

Book Twelve

‘But the seed of your seed of your seed
Shall endure, and Mankind will be freed
From eternal demise
When the Son of God dies.’
‘So there’s hope for us yet?’ ‘Yes indeed.’

Rob Stuart

If you have any comments on this poem,  Rob Stuart would be pleased to hear from you.