Well, God, I suppose You think You’re clever,
To reward the slog from poverty
with a comfort food-clogged artery,
You Great Almighty Satirist.
But even that devil Darwin never
warned that in the next century
our weightiest concern would be
the survival of the fattest.
And how our footsore ancestors would baulk
at this idea: they pay to walk.
Not from the office chair
to the escalator,
Nor from the elevator
to the parking meter,
But plugged into a
hi-tech humming hamster
wheel at the Fitness Centre.
Not gymnasium, note: no ropes,
medicine balls or boxing rings here,
Just women in imagined rowing boats,
Sweating as they watch their soaps,
three times a week.
Might as well call it a Fitness Boutique,
Now we’ve feminised hard work.
Nothing manly about these physical jerks –
gurning at the mirror –
packaged up with childcare vouchers
and other perks.
Nothing dignified either, we’re not training
for a bout or a battle, only straining
for a desperate grab at a shot at a chance
in the ever-shortening last dance
between sexual ineptitude
and final decrepitude.
An obscene frittering of calories
and chunks of fattened salaries
that could be fed to the world’s thin
or at least spent on beer or other sin.
The final word in decadent waste.
And all because those ancestors had
an urge to gorge on fat, and beef
up for the winter, and left us with the taste.
Yes, an odd sort of God to derive any pleasure
from watching the pain at the Leisure
Centre. But then again,
After all that toil and grief
There is that sweet relief
in getting home, the gorgeous wilt
onto the sofa, and the gorging without guilt,
And it’s not so much the race, as having run it,
And not so much the thing, as having done it.
And there is a joy in empty energy spent,
So perhaps it’s as that devil Darwin meant,
God’s not cruel, but just