The Temptation of St Anthony



From Emperor to Vampire, journeying through to final place of amoral monk.

Dwelling in ruined fort, a habitual sin of retired idleness. Momentary contemplations

to follow the birds south, he spends his days tending a garden of lilies in the desert.


Holding his demon captive for too long without his hands, she now writhes naked

and tied to column of penitent temple. Tresses burnt dark from exposure, tantalized

by a God that brings her an ambrosia of light that transforms her dishonour into beauty.


He kneels to pray, lifting his eyes to see diamonds that sparkle within the cobwebs

of time. Lips thin as he repeats inability to attain a separation of will from his essence.

He exists in immensity of her shadows that create illustrious sun, that beats him ashen.


“I should have been tied to the column near to thine, replying to thy cries by my sighs.”*


No Queen of Sheba, Greek goddess or any other mirrored manifestation of Magdalene

can stir him from his solitude. Twisted palm stands proud, shading him from the abyss.

Every supper, when he breaks bread, the serpent wrapped round it slides away to the sea.


Amongst pillows saturated by aroma of the palm, buoyant bouquets of narcissi ease

him into sleep. An owl’s wing softly rubs his cheek, powdering his skin with omens of

death and lust, swelling in unrest to clasp each other and cry out together, never again.


“I feel my heart growing as the sea when she swells before the storm.” *


He dreams of faded flowers, fruits too ripe, which fall away into the thickness of the night.

Clinging to twilight bride’s back, she shows him stars that burn eternal and have no limits.

Come morning, he remembers nothing. Only echo of memory, a thought – of distant remorse.


“All have passed. There remaineth me”*



©  Katypoetess 2015


*Gustave Flaubert – The Temptation of St Anthony.






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