‘Sugar Envy’

Fair Field at Ledbury Poetry Festival – photographs by Graeme Braidwood

I could lick the back bench of austerity,

if that would be useful, if that would be

something someone wanted somewhere,

or I could go day tripping in a house

of mould and sin and meet Envy there,

and hear about his inability to congratulate

mortgages, promotions, mortgages,

promotions, awards, mortgages,

“I am happy for you”, I say with acid spit.

Envy gets it.

He wants the smiley icons to feel pain,

to vomit celebratory Mexican food.

I understand where he’s at, in terms of

the tip toeing caution of failure which

Envy directs, of course, he always has;

he doesn’t know any better than tears

falling on keyboards, stained tracksuits.

Together we are downing hate

with McDonald’s residue and

I have never been an action hero, but

see myself running from room to room

Back To The Future style, I am Marty now,

running between floral headdresses and

blue sky.

Tell me Glory, do you come in the form

of an outraged conscience?

Mother soft hills, wanting to be adored?

Or an administrative tower designed

to bring us closer to Truth,

whoever she may be.

Tell me Sugar, what keeps you up at night?

Is it the fading father, the ice cream,

the three in the morning waking

unsure of the last time you felt the sun

without wanting to throw something

because nobody lives by morals anymore

and that is something we should work on.

Tell me Sugar, Envy, Dear,

what would a medieval town make

of the parade singing equality?

Would the stone grey of post-rain horizons

inspire the protesters chanting change,

or would the Devil dismantling purpose

offend the ancient grass, the audience,

the last song.


Sophie Fenella is Poet in Residence for Fair Field in a collaboration between Penned in the Margins and The Poetry School. Read more of Sophie’s responses to Fair Field on our blog.