Magnum Opus

The works that have opened doors for me throughout my life. In publication order.

Genesis – 2008

Catherine Heath


GCSE Literature & Language

Grade: A*

Dedicated to Kerry Dewsnap and Ms Millard

From still as stone to movement Satan stirred as if from dead.

He stretched his cloven hooves and raised his horned and scaly head.

Black fire danced around him, he – the hallowed Prince of Hell -

A kingdom far from paradise, the place from which he fell.

While lost in dreaming he had chanced to glimpse a wondrous sight,

But no! What he had seen had been a vestige of the night.

He climbed his stairs of charcoal to the smoking iron gate -

The demons there were clamouring to beg him of their fate. 

“Master, may we go at last? To putrid planet earth,”

One devil howled, while all the rest laughed, manically, with mirth.

No other word he stopped to hear, for Lucifer had gone

To see corruption, harm and pain he prayed that would be done.

Hell’s sentinels stood silent, as would corpses without life:

Death and Sin, who made their fortunes as the blade of evil’s knife.

The gates of hell arched overhead, just like the cages of his dreams,

While Death breathed gentle sighs that seemed as harrowing as screams.

Skin of shadows, heart of ice, with eyes that burned without the light,

This wicked son of Satan was no figment of the earthly night.

His essence, raven-coloured, held to airs of mystery,

And Satan, near to Death, did feel immersed with penury.

To Sin, the devil, hurried, paid no lingering attention,

For this symbol of corruption held the likeness of a woman.

Her scarlet lips that spoke of lust gave rise to nothing plain,

But, for one tormented kiss, they whispered centuries of pain. 

The devil’s girl was nothing more than outcome of a plot

To overthrow the Holy Ghost for freedom long forgot,

But eyes, with rivers, choked against her father’s apathy,

For Death, her child, should merit more than cold hostility,

Lucifer, who slithered by, conferred no single sound.

Her father, blazing hotly, was determinedly earth-bound. 

Perfect horror, gloom and dark gave way to rustling grass,

So, Satan looked about the world for what would come to pass.

The clocks reversed and then began to chime until Thirteen -

The change made he, the devil, feel the happiest he’d been

Since Man had gone to sin from grace in one almighty Fall,

While God had looked the other way and Satan made his call.

“Ask for what it is you wish, then seek; and you shall find;

Paradise for you my friend, I give to you in kind.”

All his legions, Satan rallied, unabashed and bold,

Since unity was critical for evil to unfold.

Satan heard their wishes and he saw what would be done -

He’d grant them all; he would not rest ‘til all the Good was gone.

But Beezlebub, Of Those That Fly, did lack this happy state

Of triumph over God and Man beyond Hell’s fiery gate,

For doubts beset his evil mind, and something made him wonder

Why Lucifer, the Fallen one, had risked God’s mighty thunder?

For darkness, pride and evil did they flout the law of heaven?

Rebellion and nightmares they had wreaked among the living -

Then Man did fall, his glory gone and all for Eve, the one

Seduced by crafty Lucifer, who’d willed it to be done.

Ideals that had seemed fruitful turned to ashes as he thought

Of clouds and kingdoms left behind, now Beezlebub had bought

A master new, then turned from God and perished after this,

For Lucifer had failed to take heed of the vengeful kiss

Bestowed on those betrayers who should fail to win the war.

God showed no mercy - struck them down: their honour was no more.

“Sinful in the first degree,” the devil cried out loud,

“Come forth, Eves and Adams, do your worst for God is proud!

He’ll turn his back, while you attack his cherished mound of dirt.

I challenge thee to fight until there’s nothing left unhurt.

Evil reigns for me again – that’s how it’s meant to be -

Bow down to me, Apollyon, now I rule over thee.”

Six times, he screamed his ecstasy to all those who could hear.

Six times, he broke the cross of God, the symbol of his fear.

Six times, he spilled the blood of those who stood against his fight.

“My Demons, come!” he roared. “Your task is to destroy the light.”

The number that they dared not speak was formed within the smoke.

His face obscured, in frenzied tones, to Beezlebub he spoke:

“Oh, Beezlebub.” The Antichrist did call him from above,

“Your powers great must give me help to act out my dark love:

Tyrannical destruction and the worship of false idols,

War caused by plagues of jealousy and murder that’s most foul.

Hell’s emperor - come forth! Employ the hierarchy anew.

Bestow your wicked gifts upon far more than just a few.

And Astaroth! The third of my Unholy Trinity,

Let not this Hell on Earth be blamed entirely on me.”

Since Genesis had God’s Design been ruler of the Earth,

And over stainless Man to whom the Lord had given birth.

Since gentle blossoms, pure and white, burst forth upon the trees,

And all the beauty of the world had brought Him to his knees,

All was good and perfect there, but nothing could go wrong -

Yet now, he gazed upon the land and saw the light had gone.

Instead of the Grand Narrative intended to explain

The secret workings of the world to mankind’s questing brain,

Hope was dead and wonder gone from each and every heart.

Love had bled from human veins and brothers forced apart -

Faith had been replaced by cynicism and descent

Down into a blackened void of disillusionment.

From flowers cleaved out of their beds to severed, dying trees,

Gabriel surveyed the world with ever more unease.

To God he said, “My lord, dost thou perceive this devastation?

I can no more make out the songs of Mankind’s great elation.”

God said to Angel Gabriel, “Th’art right to feel your fear.

They, Lucifer and Beezlebub, have trespassed over here.”

As Astaroth streaked past him, Beezlebub did fail to act,

For fear had paralyzed him and his certainty had cracked.

He crept towards the molten gates to see it for himself:

Smoke choked and throttled everything just like in hell itself.

Dark had fallen. He could spy his old star, Hesperus,

Whose heav’nly light, despite the night, did penetrate the darkness.

Its beam reminded him that Satan’s dream was not his own,

For Beezlebub was humble to the Father’s word alone.

Second in the devil’s ranks, instead of Cherubim,

Whose holy order had before extended out to him! 

Heaven high remained too far for fallen ones to see;

Its glow – bright, fair and golden – now a distant memory. 

His many eyes saw nought but gifts bestowed on others, thus

Saw nought but envy, jealousy and, overcome by lust,

Blinded by desire, he had played a covetous game

To seek a power never his, nor Lucifer’s the same.

Seduced by strings of honeyed words, the angel had become

Aroused by thoughts of vanity, just like the Fallen One. 

Obedience to God was proof of one’s holy devotion, 

But Satan, proud and mighty, failed to temper his emotion. 

Acceptance of the hierarchy lay far beyond his nature -

That narcissistic devil, to corruption did he waver.

Though similar to Satan Beezlebub did claim to be 

His yellow-coloured liver stole the chair of bravery. 

Abandoning the light for this… to fester in the dark.

He lacked the cunning valour that gave Lucifer his mark. 

Still, on the spiral down from grace had Satan dragged them all!

To rule in hell, from servitude, had led their violent fall.

Suffused in selfish pitying, he ran back to the crypt,

Though to doubting, he would rather death than to admit. 

Satan’s wild cackle rained like thorns upon his ears, 

Mocking him once more and finding laughter in his fears. 

Volcanoes raged inside him as drove himself to hide

The seeds of doubt behind a mask composed of fragile pride. 

The covenant was broken, leaving nowhere left to flee.

The world’s worst wound had left the scar of stolen liberty. 

To interfere in Man’s affairs had once been good and right,

But darkness gripped the soul of God so Man would learn to fight.

For lust of blood there was no cure or punishment to save

The multitude of sinners left to digging their own graves.

The battle cry soared over hills to echo in the heart

Of soldiers who, marooned in war, would only after death depart.

The sons of Adam followed down their father’s well-trod path -

The violence and killing worse than God’s almighty wrath.  

Children cried as swords were clashed and slew the men in warfare:

Upon the ground lay gore so thick that angels feared to tread there.

Strong bones did break like brittle twigs against the fiery onslaught

And shadows melted in the wind for battles wrongly fought.

Earth’s mouth opened to receive the blood of many dead,

Until it stained the rocks and stones. The water; it was red,

That flowed the river, out of Eden, to the fires of Hell below

Where bodies lay prone side by side in cemetery rows. 

The dying would pass on their shame to other tragic fools. 

Rain poured to earth and rippled on the glistening scarlet pools -

Cherry blossoms blown from boughs were trampled in the mud

That covered those lied in the dark, surrounded by their blood.

God was the perfect poet; he had justly penned the story:

Just those that died would penetrate eternal mystery.

Breath freed from heaving lungs would find another iron cage

Of no escape from suffering the devil’s bitter rage.

“Witches, burn your Grimoires, you will need those books no more!

Hell’s boundaries fell, it's Hell on Earth; my demons are now yours.

Spirits of the dark come forth to break these humans free

From chains made from Morality, and bring them all to me.

I’ll teach them Deadly Sins as laws to govern themselves by,”

Of Lucifer, the conqueror, these judgements were his cry.

“Burn the churches, slay the priests and paint this in blood spilt:

God is dead; he is no more, by evil he was killed.

No prayer nor grace can save thee now, for Heaven is no more!

Bow down to none but your true king: the devil, Lucifer."

For Poole High School, Poole, Dorset, 2008. 

Image Credit: Gustave Dore