The Seven Deadly Sins

Pride

Admit you’re done for , saint.

There’s no dark and diligent way out of this one.

Your social modesty is an inverted skyscraper,

your strength sucked from the weak you help.

 

Envy

Green worms, they say. I say yellow birds

perched on a pulpit, eyeing the altar, warbling

for release, wordy for rescue, lost

in a hell of loss.

 

Avarice

that plant must be plucked, stored, classified,

displayed, accumulated, each flow of sense cut,

labelled, tidily expressed in words tha grow

into no private bank of meaning uncoined

of any sovereign power

 

Lust

It spreads from down there and fills each eyeball

with zip and hook. In the waxing current

almost anything can float it: breasts or bream,

bums or bedposts. It tightens all textiles

into imagined roundings that curve into memory

of exploding liquid bliss. It sucks.

 

Gluttony

Now fat men rule the streets that once warmed

thrones and bankers’ chairs. Just another mouthful,

just in case my frame dissolves into some meaning.

The world is burning to feed me. (Our guns

and GATTs see to that).

 

Sloth

This sun’s warmth holds me here like a vice.

Deep down under me even the worms are sleeping.

My mind is so fast I can’t move. To move a muscle

would shatter another restless universe into being.

 

Wrath

is red, is black. It bursts forth when things

are slipping down the slopes of grief.

This tyrant can topple tyrants, but

it can’t dance.

 

[‘The Seven Deadly Sins’ won second prize in the 2008 Melbourne Poets Union International Poetry Prize]

 

 

 

 

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~ by Peter Lach-Newinsky on November 6, 2009.

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