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The Devil's Bag
(9 February 1882 - 26 December 1950 / Dublin)

The Devil's Bag

Poem By James Stephens

I saw the Devil walking down the lane
Behind our house.—There was a heavy bag
Strapped tightly on his shoulders, and the rain
Sizzled when it hit him. He picked a rag
Up from the ground and put it in his sack,
And grinned and rubbed his hands.
There was a thing
Moving inside the bag upon his back—
It must have been a soul! I saw it fling
And twist about inside, and not a hole
Or cranny for escape! Oh, it was sad!
I cried, and shouted out, 'Let out that soul!'
But he turned round, and, sure, his face went mad,
And twisted up and down, and he said 'Hell!'
And ran away.... Oh, mammy! I'm not well.

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