And I read this just when I was beginning to suspect that any threat of eternal torment is NOT the best way to win converts to accept the "Truth"! All too many people resent the very idea of "hell" as being just a scare tactic and thereby they reject the source of such teachings as being unacceptable - even if it might be true. Most do not respond well to threats.
I think the best way is as Nan's comment said, - apply yourself in such a way that "hell never enters my mind". Such is the confidence of a true believer, whether their faith is the absolute "Truth" or not (which we can't know) it serves well enough.
"Frozen" has a timeless, eternal quality to it, therein lies the true horror given by your final lines.
I can't help but think that being frozen would royally suck. I have to agree with fred about stanza 4. The first part and the last couple of lines are about chaos coming to an arctic halt, fire and brimstone standing still.
Maybe if the last two were switched there wouldn't be an odd hiccup and it would flow into the heaven part in a more linear formation.
I liked it a good bit, however. The descriptions put flavorful images in my head.
About midway through this I get the impression of apathy. And what is remarkable is how you leave the condemned out of the poem essentially. While I like how you've made heaven as the deciding factor, there is this to consider.: Free will, and the idea that
if God is benevolent, he forgives and desires that we move forward.
But then there is evil, isn't there that keeps hounding us and that is the torture you describe. Those hot flakes isn't that the oatmeal you have for breakfast?
Just ideas, really interesting write Bill. Here's my goal: I want to worshiping God with such devotion and intensity that hell never enters my mind.
S4 doesn’t seem to fit the thoughts expressed in the rest. Cold fire, baked skin, suffering calmed by sleep, and then...heaven feels invited, or feels like intervening? No doubt you’ll accuse me of being too literal, but the words seem to mean what the words mean.