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S is for Strychnine.....

Most commonly derived from the seeds of the Strychnos tree in India and Southeast Asia, strychnine is a highly toxic alkaloid used as a pesticide for small vertebrates like birds and rodents.

Poisoning can occur by inhalation, swallowing or absorption through the eyes or mouth. It produces some of the most dramatic and painful symptoms of any known poison-- making it a favorite for movies and murder mysteries.

There is no cure for strychnine poisoning, but if a patient can survive the first 24 hours, then recovery is very probable.

Two of the more famous, "possible" strychnine poisonings were Alexander the Great, whose wine was believed to be contaminated... and Robert Johnson, the famous blues artist who purportedly sold his soul to the devil to play his guitar like no living man ever had. Because of the violent almost inhuman convulsions that victims can endure, the circumstances of Johnson's death probably lent itself to the crossroad's legend, but it's more likely that he consumed a bottle of poisoned whiskey...

Song of the Strychnos

Some might say the devil's got ya,
as you twist and shake and cry.
Some might say the devil owns ya,
you drew his lot with the roll of the die.

You might wish for the devil to take ya,
as your body fights and writhes.
You might wish for the devil to save ya,
as your soul does slowly die. 

                                                                                          ---e.a.s. demers 


  1. Your poem fits the poison and description of the hapless victims. It's the blues gone bad.

    Play off the Page

    1. Thanks! "blues gone bad" is definitely the feel I was going for... :-)


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