The Temptation of St. Anthony

It didn't help for him to drive the quills
Of porcupines into his lecher's flesh —
His pandemonian senses uttered shrill
Expulsive cries and issued him a fresh

Supply of freaks: Crawling, flitting sights'
Ill-fitting heads, whose squints and leers distort
Their teeming faces, glint-eyed with delight,
Crowding in around him for their sport.

Fruitful at night, his senses spawned like flies
Clustered on dung. Their hatchlings' breeding place,
His body, waved with brightly speckled lies
That coalesced to whispers of disgrace.
Unwanted pleasure would dissolve his face
Into a drinking pool that filled with eyes
And he, as shadows opened up their thighs,
Handled and warm, awake to his embrace,

Screamed for the angel, screamed without restraint.
The angel, trailing glory from above,
Arrived, was there, and then contrived to shove
The difficulties back into the saint.

So he could struggle, inwardly tormented
By beasts and demons, as he had for years,
And somehow God, an essence far from clear,
Could be distilled from what the saint fermented.