Solomon’s Demons

(King Solomon's Seal: Polygonatum biflorum)

Apocryphal or not, his are 
a motley lot: the demon of the winds, 
the one who leads you into error or 
stupidity.  A lion-shaped one who keeps 
anyone ill from recovery. One that goads
women in childbirth to a frenzy, so they
strangle their newborns; one who causes 
colic, motion sickness, surrender to lust. 
Some are hybrid in form: canine heads, 
horse bodies, fish backs, legs of a mule.  
From their mouths drip famine 
and  drought, despair and disease. 
With the archangel's mystical ring, he
can summon, stun, and subdue them—
but before binding them with magical 
spells, first he conscripts their labor. 
They prepare the soil, cut stone and haul 
marble, bake bricks for the raising of  
the temple. With his ring he seals them, 
back into the dense oblivion haunted 
by fallen angels. There is a plant named 
after this instrument, this ornament of 
a king's power: King Solomon's seal—  
perianth of a flower, rhizomes bearing 
scars of ancient struggles to survive.

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