The Scottish super-lager I am drinking
has a golden logo on the can:
the fierce visage of a hawk.
In a gold band along the bottom
of the can, it states: “This beer
is Crafted in Scotland, using
the Holy Brewing method.”
Glasgow Cathedral and the Sabbath
are also mentioned.
And who am I to pooh-pooh this
as holy baloney? The Ancient Greeks
had their Dionysian dances,
Dervishes whirl in ecstatic trances,
and here I sit, sipping my holy super-lager.
When those first two pints of Barnsley Bitter
went down, at that gloomy pub,
in my gloomy home town, I found myself
floating, above the everyday fug.
This was my transport to a higher realm;
my elixir, and – admit it – my drug.
We are now besieged by a spate
of spiteful, threatening information:
the damage done by alcohol. The front page
of the newspaper proclaims the awful truth,
in bold headlines; conclusive, scientific proof:
drink alcohol – any alcohol at all – the risk
of inducing cancer goes through the roof.
But here I still sit, solemnly sipping.
Ominous warnings cascading
all around me. The sun on the
horizon, slowly sinking.
I was provoked into writing the above poem by reading the headlines on the front page of The Indy newspaper. Quoting the results of recent scientific research, it claimed there was now “conclusive proof” of the “deadly risks” of drinking alcohol. The overall message it gave was simple: drink alcohol – any alcohol at all – and you may as well be signing your own death warrant. What particularly irritated and provoked me was the hysterical, overbearing note of the article. There has recently been a growing escalation of negative news concerning the effects of alcohol, and this newspaper front page seemed to bring it all to a dramatic climax.
I have always found the pleasant, relaxing effects of alcohol to be one of the indispensable pleasures of life, but if this wave of negative news continues, it won’t be long before I start feeling as if I am one of a persecuted minority – like smokers are nowadays.