For years, the devil

For years, the devil stood behind my shoulder,
More menacing than metaphor or fact,
And mocking, scrutinised my every act.
Strengthened by my sin, but never bolder,
He preyed on each miscue; and so bewildered,
I never knew so much as what I lacked.
The prism of his gaze was bright and cracked,
And through it, every failure fused and filtered.

No saint had ever such a close companion,
Nor misery as sweet, nor pain as dear,
Infallible, unflinching and sincere.
So hope, faith and belief were all abandoned.

In terror, in my guilt, I never crossed him,
But aged and bored, I find now that I’ve lost him.