altarpiece of the Albi cathedral depicts a last judgment complete with the Deadly Sins--except they forgot Sloth. So it's the Six Deadly Sins. Doesn't have the same ring, does it?
The Sin of Omission
How could anyone neglect sloth?
On seeing your altarpiece, I feel a flicker of hope
That this poor fool might dodge the flames on a technicality.
I confess to lapses from time to time in all six other sins,
But it is in sloth that I excel. At night, when others find peace
In their beds, I'm too lazy to do the same, and can't be bothered
To leave the table, or the fireside with the bottle, or the dance.
At best you'll find me on my back, with other sins having their way,
But still I won't have the gumption to lie down and pursue dreams.
Of sloth, I am a mason and a scholar and even a king--
By great industry I steer clear of plans and goals,
Letting the day take each of my songs where it may,
Singing what the spirit moves, and thus exploiting
Even the energies of the muse, but never, God forbid, my own.
The work of mending my pockets is too much,
So I am scolded for letting my coins fall to the road,
Where beggars pick them up. I can't stir my mind
To recall where I last put that bread or bottle down;
If you should find them, please take them as you need.
And fashioning an end to this song is more effort still
I will not make, not for you, though you might whine:
Fool, your song is endless, what is your point?
I won't trouble to leave a trail for you to follow my wit;
Sloth, now named a virtue by the priests, determines it.
Now, if I were brought before the Inquisitor, I'd be too
Indolent to answer a single inquiry, but would swat my hand
As at a fly and volley the questions back at him. Why,
I would ask him, have you chosen to curry favor with sloth?
You yourself seek your comfort, giving the truth
To my grandmother's proverb: For every ass there is a seat.
Any penalty you devise serves only to magnify
My indolence: Hang me, and you put another man to work,
With the earth itself pulling at my heels, and even
That last discipline, that of my bowels, relaxed. Burn me,
And a bigger pack labors, for the sake of the stake,
The ropes, the tinder and the cart. Have mercy,
And let this altered liturgy be your guide, as sin
Has guided me, and praise this fool now as a saint,
Pope Sloth the First the name that I should take.