The back cover of this Selected Poems 1989-2014 says he's "the first poet of serious artistic intent since Philip Larkin to have achieved popularity," and yet I'm guessing that once again few of us know his work, since mysteriously so little seems to cross the pond. I knew him only as a novelist, and finding out that he's published a ton of poetry collections makes me feel a little ignorant. Here's Simon at the Poetry Foundation, and here's a poem from his new book.
A Glory | Simon Armitage
Right here you made an angel of yourself,
free-fallng backwards into last night's snow,
indenting a straight, neat, cruicified shape,
then flapping your arms, one stroke, a great bird,
to leave the impression of wings. It worked.
Then you found your feet, sprang clear of the print
and the angel remained: fixed, countersunk,
open wide, hosting the whole the sky.
Losing sleep because of it, I backtrack
to the place, out of earshot of the streets,
above the fetch and reach of the town.
The scene of the crime. Five-eights of the moon.
On ground where snow has given up the ghost
it lies on its own, spread-eagled, embossed,
commending itself, star of its own cause.
Priceless thing--the facelesss hood of the head,
grass poking out through the scored spine, the wings
on the turn, becoming feathered, clipped.
Cattle would trample roughshod over it,
hikers might come with pebbles for the eyes,
a choice of fruit for the nose and the lips;
somebody's boy might try it on for size,
might lie down in its shroud, might suit, might fit. Angel,
from under the shade and shelter of trees
I keep watch, wait for the dawn to take you
raise you, imperceptibly, by degrees.
Now, no kidding--I hadn't spent much time with Simon yet--so I just opened my new 232-page volume randomly and found this poem. But, with snow on the ground here and this poem in my own Pumpkin Butterfly, why would I look any further?
Frozen Angels | Heidi Mordhorst
We line up and hold hands
then let go
Falling blindly, keen to feel
the crunch as we break the
Arms drag and legs plow
high and open
shut and low
Doing slowly jumping jacks
flat on our backs in
We sit up and bend knees
on booted toes
Stepping deeply, keen to see
the shapes we made in
There they are: our angels frozen
on their backs
in a row
Where the cheerful field should lie
an angel graveyard
in the snow.
Enjoy the Poetry Friday Roundup today at The Opposite of Indifference with my my friend and local neighbor Tabatha.