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‘Sugar Envy’

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 protestors chanting change,
or would the Devil dismantling purpose
offend the ancient grass, the audience,
the last song.

This poem was written in response to Fair Field live performance ‘The Seven Deadly Sins’ produced by Penned in the Margins at Ledbury Poetry Festival 2017. The show was written by theatre-maker Francesca Millican-Slater and poet Nick Field. Find out more at

Sophie Fenella is the Fair Field Poet in Residence, run in collaboration between the Poetry School and Penned in the Margins. To read more poetry and prose inspired by the project’s reimagining of the epic medieval poem Piers Plowman, visit the Fair Field blog.

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Image Credits:

Graeme Braidwood