Beckett: Poetry – No. 2188, The Demon Exercised

A setina poem. Featured image by Kiki Shouldice.


I’m the product of an unplanned birth,
yet simultaneously my parents’ blessing.
Wherever I went, I brought laughter,
putting everyone at peace.
For the moment, evil was absent;
I was not yet aware of sin.

It was a bully who introduced sin,
and racism to which he gave birth.
Quickly, my happiness became absent;
abuse was his only blessing.
A stranger is what became of peace;
I had barely any cause for laughter.

For appearances, I would fake my laughter,
for depression was brought on by his sin.
I soon forgot what it meant to have peace,
for misery was my daily birth.
Neither was I familiar with any blessing,
for joy was entirely absent.

All good things being thus absent,
and a master of false joy and laughter,
the demon of the mind hid every blessing,
putting at the centre all my sin
so that suicide would find its birth, —
the only way I could find true peace.

But then the Lord Christ gave me His peace.
In time, the demon became absent
and the Spirit gave me a new birth.
Thus now, I possess newfound laughter,
for Christ has wiped away all my sin
in the baptismal waters of the Father’s blessing.

Therefore, I praise His name with blessing,
for with Him He has put me at peace.
In Word and Sacrament I’m forgiven of sin,
and even though it’s not entirely absent,
I face the devil with merry laughter
because I’m a victor in my new birth!

In Christ my sin is eternally absent,
and I live each day with laughter and peace
because of God’s blessing in my baptismal birth.

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