Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Gentleman from Gadara

They said I had a demon--but I knew better.
A thousand of the dirty things were screaming through my mind,
and, when I counted echoes in the caves, I heard a million.
They compelled me.
They controlled me.
They consumed me.
Until I--like a tortured breath of smoke--quivered, crying while they stormed, broke chains, snapped locks, and raged.
I was a mad, mad man in a world of shrouded, swine-smelling darkness.
Until the morning--the morning after that big storm.

It had raged all night.
They had too, dragging me along for the frenzy.
I was so tired at dawn's approach,
so collapsed and curled-up in the cave,
that I almost missed the sound of His light footsteps.
a foreign flame that kindled my last longing...

Could my little smoke escape them?
Could I run blazing through that pandemonium palisade,
a spewed chunk of tinder trembling through the sky in a feeble arc of fire?
 No pause before I sprang; no time for second guessing,
just a savage leaping toward the man ascending from the dock.
I charged, shaking and I ran straight to him...
Then I crumpled at his feet--
for they had caught me.
All awake and stomping, they were roaring in my throat.
I couldn't talk. I couldn't beg. The nasty things were crowding, stifling the scream of my so-desperate soul with their incessant, endless babbling, leaving me no voice at all.
Then, merciful Heaven above! The things were leaving!
I felt the pain of thunderous clawing as they trampled in their haste to slam the door.
In the faint and far off distance I could hear them--squealing, snorting--
as they dove off jagged cliffs that lined the shore.

The most beautiful nothing I'd ever felt.
They brought me clothes. I ate some bread.
And then we talked. No noisy interruptions.
My whole voice was mine again.
So I offered it to follow Him.
And I told my I'm telling it now,
over and over in my own still voice.
What a difference a day made!


  1. Very powerful retelling. I can't imagine how horrible this must have been for this poor fellow and how wonderful to finally have relief!

  2. Wow - that's so cool. I've heard the Bible version 100 times (well, not really that many) but this, from his perspective is so fresh and frightening. Kudos!

  3. Amazing piece, the rawness draws you into the pain, the anguish in hours lost... then 'Quiet. The most beautiful nothing I'd ever felt. Peace.' To end at such a tranquil place from the depths of hell, wow.

  4. This was beautiful, Lilibeth. I follow a slightly different path, but one of devotion nonetheless. I recognize the heart here... A heart much bigger than the demons that try so hard to keep us small and afraid.

  5. What a passionate story..You really told the tale through his eyes and captured the emotions carefully - and a corking last line! Jae

  6. Thank heaven for hope's bright footsteps. This story better explains the Bible's Gadarene swine "...snorting as they dove off the jagged cliffs..." Well constructed piece.

  7. Really well written, full of power and intensity.

  8. Excellent piece! I love this one!

  9. finding your own voice is cool,
    lovely ending,
    fabulous details and it is a homely poem....

  10. G'Day Lilibeth, Just dropping buy after a break to read what everyone has been up to. Cheers!

  11. What a beautiful version of what happened - you have written it from his point of view so well - thank you!

  12. ---------------
    Lilibeth, this was heavy stuff. An excellent rendering of the Bible text, and stronger even, because putting yourself in his shoes made the story stronger, with more detail. The redemptive quality of the ending... and that final line, which turns the pop song on its ear. "What a difference a day made..." GREAT.

    Thanks, Amy Barlow Liberatore

  13. This one is excellent! The composition of the first half is so well done, that the reader is led to think about many details in a seamless sweep of the situation. Very refreshing take on this part of the gospel story!

  14. I like the way you retold this in a fresh voice, excellent job!

  15. Wow! I love this! Great job!