The Seven

by Timothy Murphy


A lassitude, mistranslated as Sloth
        by men who wore the cloth,
Acedia is very near despair.
Call it the precondition for a prayer.



For thirty years I schemed to strike it rich,
but I was a false lover, rightly spurned
by Avaritia, that greedy bitch.
Hers were not the riches for which I burned.



“Desiring this man's art and that man's scope”?
When in despair with Sonnet Twenty-nine
          I all alone repine,
Dante tells me I'm damned. “Abandon hope.”



Aquinas clad in flab—
punishment for a sin
which I am innocent of.
Distance runner thin,
I was no muscled slab—
no Greek with olive skin—
when mastered by the love
where all my dreams begin.

“Such gluttony!”  I cry.
But drink? I am unmanned.
Pour me a shot of rye
and still my trembling hand.



Pride is the face I put on shame,
    the arrogant refulgence
for which the Lord will strike my name
    from the book of His indulgence.


Luxuria et Ira

What a long way to climb,
bearing so large a load.
Diminishing, the time
left to me is my goad.
Is time itself the climb?
Lust has left me behind.
Cached alongside the road,
all that a juvenile mind
dreamt that his loins were owed
I leave buried behind.

Staff, keep to the path.
I throw away my dear
anger, rising to wrath,
native to me as fear.
Feet, keep to the path.