I went down to Hell, and found there none who thought their time above had been thieved from them,
That another minute would have improved.
Went down to Hell, and found vanity as the cess, the sump, the prime despatch; never would have thought it, given the world as it is, but vanity had been decided upon.
Went down to Hell, and found no sulphurous smokes or emanations, no stenches of furfural or quinoline, no soots, no lampblack stains on vaulted caverns, or even brimstone plains to stretch further than the mortal eye could see.
Blanched asepsis was the theme. Corridors, vestibules — clinical. Occasional fire, but rather tame, at advertised times bursting out, to catch only the very lax. Suggesting that Hell, the first-built, apparently the Lord’s critical construction, had become low on His priorities. Out peninsular. A Hell not hip, and not now happening.
A window was in Hell: a rose window with piercings, foliates, inceptions, by camera obscura a flickering glance on Heaven; to supply envy for eternity, no doubt — although sins do not flourish in Hell.
Went down to Hell, and was immediately among oceans of honesty and exchange; it was all so immaterial now. Found the damned friendly and hospitable, sent slightly neurotic, obsessing, phobic in certain areas, but generally all in unchanging way, and, knowing it, never striving to be other than what they are.
A sinner had been punched by a devil, LOVE and HATE on the knuckles tattooed; they had the mirror-image of LOVE on their cheek.
Get it cancelled-out by another punch? Or go upstairs and get punched by an angel?
Saw stacked everywhere the hoops and tests, the Ararat, the bush for the burning, the lion’s den and four Judaean extras, all the props. The dice used to cast lots for the division of rainment, good Roman dice.
They would come out again and again, which suggested to me scarecrows, all stuff of light.
Went down to Hell and was kidded over Saint Francis, he’s usually around, he gets his head down here, his normal billet, usually. Saints Bernard, Anselm, John Chrysostomos, don’t where they are at the moment, but they’ll be back some time soon.
Kidded, I do believe.
Never saw a Pilate, curiously, or a Blackbeard, Bluebeard, Brutus, Cassius, any of the serious ones.
Went down to Hell and found ripostes, witty, pending. Filed by iron alphabet, and each under their different depth of dust. I suppose they were amputated from arrivals. L’esprit d’escalier not so alive, not so well.
With reference to the dreams refused by the soft souls upstairs, I went down to Hell and found many dreams consolidated: anything that could be made firmer was, which taught me of me.
Went down to Hell, and the whole eternecy was an experience, but I wasn’t especially taught of Death.