The Seven Deadly Sins sat down and talked a while,
A raucous bout of boasting about each other's guile.

"I am the sin of anger, hate and scorn.
I am older than all of you, I was the first one born."
Wrath's smile was sharp as daggers, his breath the stench of blood.

"I am the sin of lust, the body's carnal wish,"
Said another, her smile thin and sly.
"I am the oldest of us here; I was born before any of you."

"I am the sin of sloth," yawned one,
"I am tired. Leave me alone."
And he began to snore.

Down the line they went, each claiming to the eldest,
Till it came to one small sin,
The last in line of seven.

"Well?" snorted Wrath, his voice as harsh as death,
"What have you to say? Are you the eldest sin?"

The smallest sin looked up and smiled with teeth as sharp as sharks'.
He shook his head and laughed,
And this is what he said:

"I do not claim the eldest; I truly couldn't care less,
But I shall tell you one thing,
And you can judge from there.
"I am the sin of greed, the sin of excess want.
I desire things around me; knowledge, power, fame.
I make men kings and corporate heads,
And then I let them fall.

"I was there when Eve plucked apple from the tree,
And Cain's murder of poor Able?
That was caused by me.

"I am the cause of envy, of war and glut and pride.
Envy caused by want, and Wrath caused by having not.
Glut is only excess greed and Pride's from what I've got.
Lust is greed for things of flesh, and Sloth is greed for rest.
You see, Greed is everywhere, and even in the best.

"Greed is human nature; they want and want and want.
Their desire and addiction, their very selfish nature,
Make perfect vessels for my Greed.
If they could live on only feelings, greed is all they'd need.

"I am a sin that's built on others,
But even though I'm small,
If I did not exist in man,
You rest would surely fall."

And Greed gave one small, final laugh
That sounded like a snake.
And all the sins were silent, to stunned to make a sound.
For each and every one, felt Envy's tiny sting,
And each knew, without a doubt,
That is was caused by Greed.