Crazy Bill: The Gerasene Demoniac Revisited – a poem by Tim Melton

In Mark 5:1-20 we have the beautiful and horrific account of Jesus’ love for a man who is possessed by a band of demons that defiantly refer to themselves as “legion”. Out of all the stories in the Bible, I feel most kinship with this one. Like the Gerasene Demoniac, Jesus has rescued me – a crazed, exiled, sweaty toothed, mad man. He has called me from the grave, given me a new name, a new life, and a new hope. Daily, he cleans me, dresses me, clothes me, and he puts me in my right mind. My love for this account and my identification with it, eventually led me to poetically revisit the passage from the perspective of the madman – whom I refer to as William. Because I feel that poetry is better heard than read, I recorded the poem with an instrumental soundtrack (nod to Braveheart). You can read the poem simply clicking the link below. Enjoy.


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Crazy Bill: The Gerasene Demoniac Revisited

a poem by Tim Melton

I was only eight years old, when I first heard The Voices
Seductive whispers in the night,
Painted horror blinded light
Perversion led to dark delight
When I was just a boy of eight, and I first heard The Voices

When I was nine, from kindred past, The Voices offered power
And so I made an invitation
Through wretched smoke and incantation
My Soul became their habitation
Then foul they nightly haunted me, and offered me their power

When I was only ten years old, my thoughts began to bleed
I boiled the cat in wicked craft
I stabbed my sister and killed a calf
I slowly rent my soul in half
When I was just a boy of ten and my mind began to bleed

My name back then was William when I lived among the sane
But then my neighbors – dressed and clean
With swords in hand – poised and lean
Dubbed me “Crazy Bill” – then mean
They never called me Will again, when I went insane

In fear my neighbors bound me shouting, “Death to Crazy Bill!”
In judgment there they mocked and jeered
The children spat and parents leered
In anger there my soul was seared
As I was blamed for all their fears – “Death to Crazy Bill!”

In screams my neighbors called my name – “Reproach of God and Man”
“Father Cursed” “Mother Hated”
“Mistake of Nature” “Love Abated”
These titles on my soul instated,
The Voices spoke their name for me – “Legion of the Damned”

Cast in iron chains of hate, my neighbors tied me down
With whips they ripped me open wide
‘Til something deep within me died
Then Evil Voices from inside
Rose and broke the chains and cried, “You cannot hold me down!”

My Voices told me , “You have no place that you can call your own”
“No roof to hide you from the storm”
“No hearth of flame to keep you warm”
“No walls protecting you from harm”
Thus they led me to the tombs and said, “This is your home!”

I could not tell my voice from theirs, this Legion in the tombs
They cursed in shouts I could not quell
The more I fought, the more I fell
‘Til I heard naught but cries from hell
Mine or theirs, I could not tell, running wild amoung the tombs.

My flesh became corrupt and foul as Legion racked my frame
With matted hair and withered limbs
With rotted teeth and eyes red-rimmed
With bones like brittle sun-dried stems
My flesh became a house condemned on a street without a name

So I lived bare and naked as I starved inside the graves
My food – the roots and pods of swine
My drink – the dregs of bitter wine
My dress – the dust of dead mankind
Thus, stripped of all God called ‘Divine’, I stood astride my grave

In nightmares then, from time on end, in the crypt beside the sea
The months and years bled into one
My hope was spent, my story spun
For though I lived, my life was done
Beneath a moon that blocked the Son, this nightmare raged in me

Then, one midnight – rude and harsh – a Grace fell on the tombs
A Storm of fury blew and dashed
As Thunder clapped and Lightning flashed
As Rain and Waves both leapt and lashed
A Violent Grace, first swelled then crashed, and silence filled the tombs

When morning broke the Son arose – His heat burned in my soul
Legion cried out desperately
They cursed the heavens and the sea
Their talons clutched and scratched in me
And though they tried to turn and flee
They could but scream, “Oh God, ‘tis He!” That morn the Son arose

Then Glory – like a blood red sea – blew in from the storm
He did not fear demonic night
But looked at me with Blinding Light
He walked a Cross with Sad Delight
This Glory from the Crimson Sea, stepped into my storm

Legion slammed me to the ground with a vengeance fueled by flames
But Gentle Hands caught all my tears
And Humble Eyes calmed all my fears
Then a Voice of Healing called me near
And asked me what I longed to hear – “Son, what is your name?”

“We are Legion!” squealed the voices, as fear choked back their roar
Then Glory raised His hands divine
With Power to loose and Strength to bind
He cast my Legion into swine
And drowned them in the Crimson Sea – I’ve heard them nevermore

Then Glory led me to that sea and plunged me ‘neathe the flood
He bathed me in His perfect glory
That freed my soul from fear and worry
With just one word, He changed my story
For there I heard my Father’s name, beneath a Sea of Blood

A dream-like Revelation rose and flooded through my soul
A knowledge opened up my eyes
A truth that rinsed away my lies
A loosening of hell’s dreadful ties
I felt this Revelation rise and overwash my soul

Next thing I remember, I was clothed and in right my mind
My food – The Word of Blessedness
My drink – The Wine of Holiness
My dress – His Royal Righteousness
So adorned in all His Kingly best, He called my name – “Divine”

Then neighbors came up from my home – the ones who’d chained me down
Their hearts were daggers poised to fight
Their eyes were seeing but devoid of sight
Their souls were shrouded in darkest night
So they cursed the Blessed Light, shouting, “Demon, leave our town!”

Glory turned and smiled at me and said He must away
There were others across the sea
Others blind who longed to see
Chained yet yearning to be free
Yes, there were others, just like me, and so He could not stay

“Glory!” I cried upon my knees. “Let me go with you from this place”
“I cannot live without your Words
Your Voice is strength that binds and girds
For the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard
Was when you called my name aloud – it was my saving Grace”

“William”, Glory said to me. “Be ye not afraid”
“My Love within you will increase
My Voice in you, will never cease
For I will speak, and give you peace
For ‘lo I’m with you always William, ‘til the ending of the age”

“Now William, Blessed William, stay among your kith and kin
Remind them what your God can do
Tell them I make all things new
Describe for them what I did for you
And then invite them to know me too – to believe and enter in

Then William, proclaim among your brothers, for this is Your Father’s Will
That you are William – lost but found
William freed – who once was bound
Sing, Blessed Willliam, sing all throughout your town
And trust that you will ever be,
Yes know that you will always be, your Loving Father’s Will

Tim Melton
May, 2008

23 thoughts on “Crazy Bill: The Gerasene Demoniac Revisited – a poem by Tim Melton

  1. Awesome poem, Tim. Definitely something to meditate on and listen to over and over. I am doing a “dudes only” Bible study with my youth group guys this summer. I will definitely need to use this. Thanks for posting this.


  2. Uncle Timmy…This is literally the most ABSOLUTELY AMAZING poem I’ve ever heard in my INTIRE life. It REALLY got through to me Timmy. I cried during the end. It proves that ANYONE can be on the path of GOD even when theres something holding back. I LOVE it. I love you and I can’t what to see you Thursday!!-Abby(Your Neice)


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  5. I never submit comments. Ever. But I am so moved by your poem. Thank you. Don’t stop telling the truth about Jesus.

    My “story” is dissimilar, but I, too, am delivered by the Lord Jesus Christ. Whew. God is wonderful.

    Montreat, NC


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  7. I will be using your poem for a sermon illustration. What a powerful way to express the relationship between Jesus and the Gerasene Demoniac. I am also using your poem in my research for my D.Min project on Theology and Disability. Great stuff!


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  10. Never stop allowing God to use you in this manner my brother, my son.
    You who can preach the gospel like no other man I know.
    You who can take the worst thing a man can live through and show the truth of the gospel through it.

    May the loveliness of the Lord our God rest on you confirming the work that you do. Oh,yes. may HE affirm the work that you do.

    The Gospel is alive and well and working it’s Hope,Trust,Love, Strength and Faith in and through you…


    • Fred, I’m so sorry for my delayed response. I didn’t catch your comment when you sent it. So glad you enjoyed the poem. I am going to make a “youtube” version soon. No problem with linking up to your blog.


  11. Thanks for your picture and poem. I am teaching on Mark 5 tomorrow. Your insights from the point of view of Legion are thought-provoking and beautifully expressed. I hope you are okay with my using the picture in my power point for the Bible Class. Serving Christ together! Phyllis Cooper


  12. Came across your poem while prepping a sermon on Mark 5.Very powerful way to bring the story to life. Asking permission to print/reference? Thanks


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