Skip to main content

The Sugar Museum

A strange confection, sparked by my own diabetes, a piece on the “Antiques Roadshow” about the shadow-side of some 18th century silver and Frank Skinner’s reading of poem 8 from Donna Stonecipher's “The Model City" in his Poetry Podcast. Each of her poems in that collection apparently answers the question “What was it like?” but refers in one to a diversion to a "Sugar Museum",  so that's where I start...

What would it really be like
To visit a sugar museum?
Would it be a Wonka-world
Fantasy focussed firmly on
The sweet culinary creations 
That come from those white crystals?
Cakes and confections of all kinds,
Candyfloss and caramels, 
Sherbets and shortbread,
Fizzy drinks and frozen lollies,
Diverse desserts and Turkish delight,
Indeed, delights from every nation
Bringing joy to the tongue and heart 
Of the child in all of us.

Or would there also be
Piles of pitted baby teeth,
And fillings forged from
All manner of metal and ceramic,
Balancing the mounds of money
Made by many from this
Not so innocent addiction.
Blackened teeth they tell us
We’re once a sign of prosperity,
The proverbially conspicuous
Mark of literal consumption,
With elaborate sugar sculptures 
Nipped at by finely worked 
Hallmarked silver tongs.

Or what about including
some scarred and shackled 
black bodies to go with 
the blackened teeth?
Both, apparently, an acceptable 
price to pay for this little luxury.
An empire fuelled at first 
In part by sucrose and slavery,
Before its industrial revolution,
But reluctant to remember, 
Preferring to point the finger
At the manifest misdeeds
Of rebellious tobacco 
and cotton-growing colonials.

Or how about an entire room
Dedicated to diabetes?
Diverse disciplines devoted 
To addressing the effects
Of this preventable pandemic.
Endocrinologists, pharmacists, 
Opticians, cardiologists -
Gainfully employed if not paid for
By the sugar industry, with
Surgeons replumbing arteries
And removing toes and legs
Suitably blackened as
A testament to the wealth
If not the health of the nation.




Popular posts from this blog

Everyday Discipleship

Reading again the story of Joshua and the walls of Jericho in preparation for our current Bible Study on "Whole Life Worship" and I am struck again by the difficulty, and importance, of connecting such stories with the everyday experience of people... and indeed myself. Years ago a friend wrote a poem that said "Oh to be in shining armour at the photocopier..." More that a quarter of a century later those words still resonate with me... Ask me clearly  To do the impossible  And I will happily attempt it. Separate waters  With a walking stick To escape pursuing foes. Blow my trumpet  To demolish the impregnable Despite mocking from the ramparts. Face a fearsome giant With a few pebbles, faith And not so youthful arrogance. Sit amongst lions Rather than desert you, Anticipating our enemies’ demise. Let me be a hero Striding across scripture Your words in my ears and mouth. Yes Lord, please Deliver me, not from evil But the undifferentiated mundane; The daily demands 

A Woman of no Distinction

Don't often post other people's stuff here... But I found this so powerful that I thought I should. It's a performance poem based on John 4: 4-30, and I have attached the original YouTube video below. A word for women, and men, everywhere... "to be known is to be loved, and to be loved is to be known." I am a woman of no distinction of little importance. I am a women of no reputation save that which is bad. You whisper as I pass by and cast judgmental glances, Though you don’t really take the time to look at me, Or even get to know me. For to be known is to be loved, And to be loved is to be known. Otherwise what’s the point in doing either one of them in the first place? I WANT TO BE KNOWN. I want someone to look at my face And not just see two eyes, a nose, a mouth and two ears; But to see all that I am, and could be all my hopes, loves and fears. But that’s too much to hope for, to wish for, or pray for So I don’t, not anymore. Now I keep to myself And

Praise of a Man

In the absence of any adequate words of my own, for someone who loved poetry, here is "Praise of a Man" by Norman McCaig. together with the picture I posted this morning as part of my #PentecostArt series, "Starry Night Over the Rhone" by Vincent Van Gogh. In response to that post another friend wrote  "Always love this picture - but a helpful reminder of the way light is reflected. We need that right now!" We do indeed. He went through a company like a lamplighter – see the dull minds, one after another, begin to glow, to shed a beneficent light. He went through a company like a knifegrinder – see the dull minds scattering sparks of themselves, becoming razory, becoming useful. He went through a company as himself. But now he’s one of the multitudinous company of the dead where are no individuals. The beneficent lights dim but don’t vanish. The razory edges dull, but still cut. He’s gone: but you can see his tracks still, in the snow of the world. Shalom