Another vision of judgement
Heaven had changed a lot since Byron's day,
And mostly for the worse. Its pearly gate
squeaked loudly as St Peter made his way
to his official desk, tipsy and late.
In answer to the bell. His beard, once gray,
now shone with dye; a toupee on his pate.
Making an effort, as chief employee
of God, once Lord, but now an absentee.
There was no reason yet to think God dead,
As Nietzsche claimed, as Dawkins still maintains.
You'd think if someone killed God, he'd have bled
a little ichor, which leaves golden stains,
or, since he was incarnate, maybe red.
No scrap or bone of Heavenly remains
invisible to saint's or angel's eye.
St Peter even called in CSI
to no avail. The choirs still sang out loud
although they gazed up at the now vacant throne.
What else was there to do? The holy crowd
of patron saints answered each prayer or moan
exactly as before. The Powers bowed,
the Seraphs fluttered. Every sainted crone
or virgin scrubbed the place so very clean
it shone as bright as it had ever been.
The queues were even longer than before.
So many dead, all trying to get in.
Some dead in famine, some in holy war,
and all convinced they'd never done a sin.
St Peter had to judge; he let in more
than you'd expect; he saw them as his kin.
his were the keys and he threw wide the lock,
remembering the crowing of the cock
When he'd denied god thrice. And if bad men
got into heaven, he could always hope
that they'd get bored there, and would leave again.
He took as model our dear current Pope
who writes out blessings, with a Mont Blanc pen,
for ex-dictators who deserve the rope.
Peter thought his successors were so wise
he'd let their practice be his main advice.
People would come to heaven, then not stay
for very long, unless so very dull
they liked the singing. Which went on all day
and then all night. Heaven was never full
because so many saved just went away
to some less boring place, Esher or Hull.
The only consolation was that Hell
had a revolving-door problem as well.
Satan would visit bringing warm champagne
and hardly patronize the saint at all
or not enough to make a chap complain
much of his arrogance, sheer bloody gall
and general bad attitude. His reign
in Hell was in quite shoddy shape
he said – all my damned souls try to escape.
They never did before – they'd stay and burn
or be tormented with whips, clubs and forks
and think it all the just reward you earn,
for sin. But then some lawyer's damned and talks
of human rights, appeals, public concern.
He gets loose from his chains, walks around talks
of how damnation really is not fair
and how they just can't keep you sizzling there