Saturday, 4 November 2017


The  eighth deadly sin  has proved a fruitful blog topic this week and my co-posters have successfully nominated abuse, consumerism and social media as worthy candidates for this most unfortunate accolade.

I spent a couple of hours prowling the wiki-world and was surprised to learn that historically there was already an eighth deadly sin: acedia in Latin, deriving (of course) from the Greek Ἀκηδία (akēdia and translating approximately as delinquency of thoughtfulness, also known as neglecting to take care of a duty - subtly different from sloth/laziness. Thomas Aquinas described it as uneasiness of the mind (akin to a guilty conscience) and Dante further typified it as a failure to do something with all one's heart, mind and soul. I'm happy to bow to historical precedence and vote to reinstate delinquency/acedia as detailed by Dante as my candidate for the eighth deadly sin.

"Surely it is a sign...." :-)
I'm sure we can all think of our own examples of acedia - the doing of something (as opposed to not doing - which would be sloth) but doing it with a distinct lack of care, commitment, conviction, dedication, enthusiasm, love and respect. (Pause here for quiet contemplation.) Okay, that's it - job done.

I'm afraid this latest poem has but a tenuous connection to the week's theme - in the form of a delinquent motorist - but I wrote it for a Hallowee'n gig and so I'm not going to waste it...

Hallowe'en Party 
At my family's hallowe'en party
of course no one and nothing is quite what they seem...

My Daddy's the ghoul with a bolt through his neck,
and Mummy's the witch decked in shimmering green.
My brothers are zombies - so nothing new there!
My skeletal sister has tangerine hair,
while Nana's a beast with a fur coat and tail
and Pops plays the corpse in the easiest chair.

The tables are covered with hallowe'en fun-food -
there's frogs eyes to munch and baked rat-atouille,
pizza with scabs on and chopped-finger pies,
lashings of spiders'-legs (made from spaghetti)
all to be washed down with jugfuls of slime;
- one lot has got gin in, that's not for the kids.
It's sick in a good way, if you know what I mean.

Me? I stand apart, alone in the hallway,
a figure in thrall looking in on their fun
for my party was over before it began.
A reckless drunk at the wheel of a sports car
dispatched me aged seven down to my grave
from where once a year this revenant stares
at my Mummy and Daddy, my brothers and sister
and their hallowe'en madness in which I can't share...

For my family, it seems, have no means to perceive me.
I've reached out in the past - they don't know I'm there.
On such nights I'm consumed with a bittersweet sadness
at being this close yet forever removed.
It rips me apart at the seams once again,
it's a desolate feeling that sets my head reeling...
...being invisibly real in a make-believe scene.

Thanks for reading. Have a fulfilling week, S ;-)


Anonymous said...

A beautifully descriptive poem with an unexpected twist.

Anonymous said...

Love it.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Entertaining and thought-provoking as ever.

Anonymous said...

I meant to put a comment on when I read this last week (is that sloth or acedia???) An interesting blog my friend and a surprisingly moving poem.

Steve Rowland said...

I'm just re-reading From Russia With Love - and behold, at the beginning of chapter 11: "Just as, in at least one religion, acedia is the first of the cardinal sins so [] was the only vice Bond utterly condemned."