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This poem is based upon a true story of the night my grandfather decided to swear off liquor.

THE NIGHT GRANDPA MET THE DEVIL

         

The old man stumbled up the stairs,

Too drunk to stand up straight.

His clothing reeked of rum and gin,

And he was feeling great!

Tobacco spittle made small streams

In creases made by age.

His shameful drunken stupor

Filled his daughter-in-law with rage.

 

Lecturing on such evil ways,

She threatened him once more

That the Devil was sure to get him,

As he groveled on the floor.

Her threats did not impress the man,

For he loved booze, you see.

And so he’d say, Devil belief,

Is just a fantasy.

 

The old man lurched into his room

And reached up for the light,

Forgetting that the switch-plate guard

Had fallen off last night.

His finger reached the open switch,

And expletives were spat.

Then jumping back in terror,

He stepped on his pet cat.

 

The startled cat extended claws

And raked the old man’s arm.

The old man fell across the dog,

Who bit in his alarm.

All three headed for the stairs

With scream and yowl and bark;

They tangled in their struggles

And rolled down in the dark.

 

The din was unbelievable!

The old man’s shouts were clear

As he screamed in downright terror,

THE DEVIL’S HERE! THE DEVIL’S HERE.

 

They lit in one sad trembling pile

The pets ran out the door

The old man sat there muttering,

“No more! No more! No more!”

The cat and dog, no worse for wear,

Survived their awful fright,

And the old man’s Devil encounter

Made him swear off booze that night.

 

4/29/91        Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck

 

5’th … Arkansas NPD – 1992

4’th … Arkansas NPD – 1995

4’th … Arkansas W C – 2001

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