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The Devil's Halo, a Poem

John has many years of writing experience in poetry, short fiction and text for children's books. Basically he just loves to write.

Never smile at a crocodile

No, you can't get friendly with a crocodile

Don't be taken in by his welcome grin

He's imagining how well you'd fit within his skin

— Frank Churchill

The Devil's Halo

Covers don't define a book,

Though they oft' determine sales.

What's good inside may not be seen

Because the outside pales.

It's said that beauty is skin deep

And often that is true.

It's what's inside that really counts

And that's unique to you.

Some people flash their wealth around,

Rolex watch, designer clothes.

But money doesn't make the man,

It's all purely for show.

A wolf in sheep's clothing

A wolf in sheep's clothing

Beware the wolf who's dressed in wool,

He looks so meek and calm.

But as soon as your defence is down

He'll pounce and do you harm.

You shouldn't trust a crocodile,

And it's warm, inviting smile.

If unwarily you stray too close

You'll become a gourmet meal.

Sharks are everywhere we look,

Fins circling all about.

We're just mere minnows in a school,

A feeding frenzy route.

Sharks circling

Sharks circling

At first, most people may act nice

But underneath are cruel.

Don't drop your guard and let them strike,

They'll treat you like a fool.

The devil has a halo too.

He often hides his horns

And offers to cure all your woes.

A rose with poison thorns.

Innocence befits a child,

But wisdom comes with age.

Separating truth from lies

Is a challenge on life's stage.

A rose with poison thorns

A rose with poison thorns

Don't be fooled by what you hear

Or even what you see,

There's so much falsehood in the world,

Discernment sets you free.

So, be yourself, don't act a part

In this soap opera of life.

There is no Oscar to be won,

Just avoid the back-stabbed knife.

Author's Note

This is another poem inspired by the title of a novel in my bookcase. This seems to be my muse's current obsession. On this occasion, the book in question is of course 'The Devil's Halo' by Chris Fox.

This is only Chris Fox's second novel (the first being the widely acclaimed LUCI in the Sky). It is a political thriller set in the 21st Century and riveting reading.

"A breathtaking 21st- Century spy story"- Nelson Demille

The Devil’s Halo by Chris Fox

The Devil’s Halo by Chris Fox

© 2018 John Hansen


John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on August 22, 2018:

Good to see you Diana. Thank you for reading.

Dianna Mendez on August 22, 2018:

Lots of warning to heed in this poem!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on August 22, 2018:

Thank you, Lawrence. Much appreciated.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on August 22, 2018:


Loved the poem.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on August 03, 2018:

Thank you for sharing that Genna. Yes, you are right that looks can be so deceiving. We should never judge someone, at first sight, we need to get to know them first. I appreciate you reading this and your kind comment.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on August 03, 2018:

Hey Bill, good to see you. I appreciate you taking the time from you busy publishing and life to leave me such an encouraging comment. I really hope my writing motivates others as you say. I can't ask for more reward than that. Thank you.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on August 03, 2018:

I loved this poem, John. One of the nicest people I've ever met -- and this is only recently, I might add -- looked like one of Hell's Angels; complete with burly arms covered with tattoos, earrings, and a chin that looked as though it was cut from granite. My first impression wasn't a very good one I'm ashamed to say. But he is such a kind and giving person, the genuine article, who taught me that we can judge a book by its cover more often than we think. Your inspiring words reminded me of this. Thank you for sharing with us.

Bill Russo from Cape Cod on August 03, 2018:

Beautifully stated as usual sir. You are a great writer but more than that, you are a motivator. There must be hundreds of people, including myself, on Hubpages and beyond who've picked up the figurative pen and tried to write some prose and poetry because you challenged us. Thanks John.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on July 31, 2018:

Thank you, Rasma. I always greatly appreciate comments from a wonderful poet as yourself.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on July 31, 2018:

Hey Larry, you are spot on. Movie makers may have move on since the black hat vs white hat to differentiate bad guys from good, but they have always used beauty to portray good and ugly for bad which is totally wrong. I have read that some actors who could only get bad guy roles because of there looks like Jack Palance, Bruce Dern, or Edward G Robinson were actually the nicest guys you would meet. Good looks and snappy dressing certainly are no indicator of the real person beneath.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on July 31, 2018:

Yes, Mark, they know the majority of people can be fooled by appearances. Thanks for reading

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on July 31, 2018:

Awesome poetry. Really nicely penned. You poetic words speak the truth.

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on July 31, 2018:

Great poem. Love the Churchill quote and the wolf-sheep.

Along the topic, notice the movie convention where the bad guy is so often ugly or gross or fat or has an ugly snere or some other undesirable physical trait?

In my experience these are the kindest and most helpful folks on many occasions.

Fear the sharply dressed in expensive business suits that come to you with smiling faces.

Great read.

Mark Tulin from Ventura, California on July 31, 2018:

So true. They wear halos, crosses, metals of honor and other impressive and alluring things. Thanks, John.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on July 31, 2018:

Thank you, Venkat, for your positive comment. Yes, we need to reveal what is in a person's heart.

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on July 31, 2018:

Very lovely and inspiring message. "Do not judge the Book by its Cover" or a "Person with his Appearance". Similarly "the Politicians from their Speeches".

We need to look at the inner content or the inner heart.

Thanks, John, for this wonderful message.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on July 31, 2018:

Hi Glenis, I appreciate you reading this. Glad you are going to give the book title method of inspiration a go.

Glen Rix from UK on July 31, 2018:

Witty synthesis of philosophical adages, John. It's true that wisdom comes with age but I'm still trying to avoid world-weary skepticism (not always successfully). I'm going to use your way of drawing inspiration from the titles of books.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on July 30, 2018:

Hi Flourish, it seems if I have a set format for finding my inspiration it allows me to write more regularly. Thank you for reading.

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 30, 2018:

Well done. Many people are not what they seem to be. Interesting where you’re finding your inspiration these days.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on July 30, 2018:

Hey MsDora. Thank you, as always. That reminds me I need to read your latest article. Blessings.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on July 30, 2018:

So many lessons about life are embedded in your comparisons with these different creatures. Really good poetry!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on July 30, 2018:

Thank you for reading and commenting, Dana. yes, discernment is a powerful and necessary tool we need to utilize and apply to all we experience in life.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on July 30, 2018:

Mary, it's impossible to ignore everything you see and hear. But, you do always have to be cautious before letting it influence your own actions or words.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on July 30, 2018:

Hi Chitrangada. As you said, a person's inner thoughts are often difficult to understand, at least at first. It would be great to be able to believe everything that was said and promised. Have a great day.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on July 30, 2018:

Thank you for the lovely comment, Linda, and for the reminder that I still have to read billybuc's Mailbag. As I told Rinita, I work hard on the actual message and structure of a poem but the rhyme comes easy.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on July 30, 2018:

Hi Rinita, my friend. Your comments always make me feel good about what I write. Yes, I admit a lot of thought goes into each stanza and I often swap the order around a few times before I am happy. For me, the actual rhyming is the easy part.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on July 30, 2018:

Thank you for reading this Tim, and for the kind comment. We do need to show our true colours and not be fake.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on July 30, 2018:

Shauna, I have so many books I can't fit them all on shelves. Many are packed away in boxes. I just swap them around now and then. I'll probably continue using titles as inspiration until my muse decides on something different.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on July 30, 2018:

Yes, Eric, that is true too. Leopards can change their spots. Cheers.

Dana Tate from LOS ANGELES on July 30, 2018:

I loved the poem especially what you mentioned about discernment. Being able to discern the motive behind the words, behind the smiles, behind the "helpful gestures," is a necessary tool for life on earth. Believe me it has saved me from being the fool- many times.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on July 30, 2018:

Hi Ann, thanks for reading. I'll probably continue this book title inspiration until something else distracts me. It's working fine so far. Glad it gave you some ideas.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on July 30, 2018:

Just avoid the back-stabbed knife. Many times, they come without any warning. I don't understand why people like to make people feel bad by what they say. Your advice is good, not to allow what you hear or what you see influence you.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on July 30, 2018:

Very well expressed poem, with a wonderful message!

As is said, don’t judge the book by it’s cover. It’s difficult to understand, someone’s inner thoughts. Therefore, it’s better to be cautious.

Thanks for sharing another great poem!

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on July 30, 2018:

Wonderful poem. And just this morning in billybuc's mailbag there was a question about whether an author should take the time to change the cover of a book. I detect a trend here.

John, your verses flow so effortlessly (but I assume you spend hours on these). You always provide a wonderful read, and so much to consider.

Rinita Sen on July 30, 2018:

You turn each book cover into a golden stream flowing through your natural rhyming. Wise words in this poem, and I like how generic it feels, holds true for all. It feels like a lot of thought went into each line, even if it was instinctive poetry.

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on July 30, 2018:

Wonderful poem, John, with a strong rhythm and potent message. I love this line:

"So, be yourself, don't act a part"

It's so true in a world filled with phoniness.

Thanks again.



Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on July 30, 2018:

Great message, John. Not everything is as it appears to be, unfortunately.

I love the turn your muse has taken. I'm sure you have an extensive library, so she should have plenty of fuel to keep you busy!

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on July 30, 2018:

This is a really cool poem. For some reason it made me think of people who really do change the outside to fit the inside.

Ann Carr from SW England on July 30, 2018:

Great advice in this poem, John! Also good rhythm and humour.

It's a good way of finding inspiration, using a book title. I have many in front of me and there are few which don't give me some ideas, so thanks for the suggestion.


John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on July 30, 2018:

Thanks for reading this, Bill. I always appreciate your insightful comments.p

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 30, 2018:

Just be yourself...it takes some of us a very long time to figure out who "self" is, but once we have it figured out it is a comfortable place to be. :) Loved the poem and message, John!

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