Toad at the Gates of Doom (Edit)

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Toad at the Gates of Doom

Outside the Gates of Hades
sits a cross-eyed toad
beside a burnt-out serpent
a broker and a phone.

Outside the Gates of Heaven
sits an angel in disguise
beside a corpulent bishop
with ecstasy in his eyes

and the sign on the gate says:

Closed for Renovation
no judgement today
if you’re looking for accommodation
clear off, go away.

God is on vacation
taking a well-earned break
there’s only so much suffering
one true God can take

So, get your ass back down there
be good to everyone
drink lots of water
and try to get along.

Brendan’s challenge this week over at Earthweal is to write of a voyage to the Otherworld. As he explains:

I have used the medium of Irish myth, but voyages to the Otherworld are universal. Journey there this week from inside your own story-cycle, and report on the news you find there.

I was born and educated in Ireland and that education did cover Irish (pagan/Christian) myths and legends but the dominant Otherworlds by that point had become Heaven and the everlasting fire of Hell. Irish Catholicism is indeed a rough beast . Somewhere in between these poles, the minor worlds of Purgatory and Limbo floated. So when I read Brendan’s quote I thought of this poem (previously posted)

Note on the title:

This poem title came about because, for a brief period, I was listening to prog metal. Brief because, like all things prog, the talent rarely matches the ambition, the concepts. An exception would be Pink Floyd ( Piper at the Gates of Dawn) who were a progressive band but they were successful because they could write songs and had one of the best lyricists in rock, the concepts were secondary. Prog metal players, from what I can tell , are accomplished musicians – the guitarists can play at incredible speeds and the drummers sound like they are descended from the octopus but the lyrics are banal at best and the melodies vestigial. The album titles, though, are always interesting and that’s where this poem started – I was playing around with making up titles for prog metal concept albums…the poem evolved from there.

19 thoughts on “Toad at the Gates of Doom (Edit)

  1. kim881

    I really got this, Jim, having lived in Ireland, mother of an Irish-born child, lover of Irish mythology – and all kinds of metal, although we listen more to bands like Caspian, Tesseract and Mogwai these days. I love the image of the ‘cross-eyed toad beside a burnt-out serpent a broker and a phone’ – it would make a great album cover. Your poem made me smile.

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    1. sdtp33 Post author

      Thanks Kim, yes the relationship between the Irish and religion is complex, I’ll check out those bands you mention, I’ve heard of Mogwai but not the others……I’m always looking for new (to me) bands to listen to…JIM

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  2. Sherry Marr

    Well, you had me at the title! Love the poem and your notes following. Many years back, in Vancouver, I saw Dark Side of the Moon at the Planetarium – one of the highlights of my life. Sigh.

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  3. Ingrid

    It sounds to me like God is treating us like the infants we are. It shouldn’t be too much to ask to ‘try to get along,’ but seemingly it is, as there are toys flying out of prams left right and centre. I think your title would be great for a prog metal album!

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  4. Steve Simpson

    An enjoyable and amusing read, Jim. I liked the queue of hopefuls and the touch of generally applicable heavenly advice at the end. Of course, how to go back to living may not be straightforward.

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