Hellís Teeth

You go to hell, and there you meet
(Among a crowd of former flames)
The crooked man who made you cheat,
Who furnished you with phoney names.

Across the red-hot parquet strides
The chap who made your blushes pink:
The fool in whom no man confides
Unless he's taken too much drink.

Beside the medieval rack,
His tortured hands in tattered rags,
There stands a bloke (in smoky black)
Who cadged your flashy packs of fags,

While over there, in violet flares
And shank of greasy pony-tail,
A frankly rank young idiot stares
In panic at the thrashing flail.

Beside the thumbscrews someone hums
That irritating little hit
You used to hate. Ah! someone comes
To roast him slowly on a spit!

Illumination strikes you as you scan
The instruments on Satan's shelf:
That hell's bells ring, since time began,
For versions of your former self.

From the book Rime Present