Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Chocolate Cake


Above is Michael Rosen performing his poem on YouTube.

When I was younger this poem stuck in my mind for a long time. My mum and I used to buy a  huge slab of chocolate cake in one of those silver trays and sit and indulge in front of the television. It felt like we were living the poem. Filling ourselves with cake until it hurt, the idea of gluttony is highlighted throughout this poem.
"I love chocolate cake.
And when I was a boy
I loved it even more.

Sometimes we used to have it for tea
and Mum used to say,
'If there's any left over
you can have it to take to school
tomorrow to have at playtime.'
And the next day I would take it to school
wrapped up in tin foil
open it up at playtime
and sit in the corner of the playground
eating it,
you know how the icing on top
is all shiny and it cracks as you
bite into it,
and there's that other kind of icing in
the middle
and it sticks to your hands and you
can lick your fingers
and lick your lips
oh it's lovely.

Looking at the first part of this poem, we can see that the descriptive words used by the narrator is the young boy as an older male. The idea of a memory is
prevalent within all of us. I have always said, "mum do you remember when we did so and so" or " wow that was so amazing". The past is either a happy moment or a sad moment, but Michael wanted to ensure that the words he used only created good memories for this man who was once a young boy obsessed with chocolate cake.
I recall this feeling myself. I remember when I had an obsession with cheese slices for burgers. I believe I ate four packets in one day, with fifteen in each packet. I have never eaten one since due to the fact that all I remember from it is this sick feeling that overwhelmed me and to be honest, puts me off them. Dad used to call it, "cheese slice time". That has stuck with us for a long time.
into the kitchen
open the cupboard
and there it is
all shining.

So I take it out of the cupboard
put it on the table
and I see that
there's a few crumbs lying about on the plate,
so I lick my finger and run my finger all over the crumbs
scooping them up
and put them into my mouth.


I look again
and on one side where it's been cut,
it's all crumbly.

So I take a knife
I think I'll just tidy that up a bit,
cut off the crumbly bits
scoop them all up
and into the mouth

oooooommm mmmm

Look at the cake again.

That looks a bit funny now,
one side doesn't match the other
I'll just even it up a bit, eh?

Take the knife
and slice.
This time the knife makes a little cracky noise
as it goes through that hard icing on top.

A whole slice this time"

In this this part of the poem we witness the young boy sneaking downstairs, even after he has been forbidden to sneak some of the chocolate cake. Again, Michael is highlighting the normal yet possibly exaggerated traits of a child, as he wakes up in the middle of the night due to the memories of the chocolate he had tasted earlier that day. Nevertheless, it supports my theory that Michael's words were not simply to be read and laughed at as simple nonsense poetry. There is a lesson behind it. Just because we want something does not mean we can always have it.
Food is consumed on a daily basis all over the world. But do we appreciate it? Do we understand where it comes from? Do we understand the meaning of where it came from and how it got onto our plates? Most often the answer to that is no. We are too consumed by our needs and wants to take the time to question these things. Michael wanted the young boy to realise that there was a reason his mother wanted to keep it safe in the fridge but his need for chocolate overwhelmed him and this impaired his judgement.

"Oh no
they're bound to notice, aren't they,
a whole chocolate cake doesn't just disappear
does it?

What shall 1 do?

I know. I'll wash the plate up,
and the knife

and put them away and maybe no one
will notice, eh?"

The fact that the young boy believed that washing the plate and the knife would eradicate what he did suggests that he is not thinking straight. He is clearly still in ecstasy after eating the chocolate cake. Even by the end of the poem when he remarks that "Maybe she'll forget about it by next week", highlights the idea that as a child he is not thinking about the consequences of his actions. This is something which is prominent in children and especially in Children's Literature. Supporting my idea that there are morals behind the food in Michael Rosen's poetry, I believe that the chocolate cake is the physical metaphor for a child's judgement. Not particularly understanding the difference between what is right and wrong and more so what the consequences are of their actions. It seems that Michael Rosen wanted to teach children not to just go full steam ahead like a dog with a bone and should listen when they are told to do something.

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