Harmonium by Simon Armitage

Poem wirtten by Simon Armitage

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  • Created on: 01-05-12 07:19
Preview of Harmonium by Simon Armitage

First 252 words of the document:

The Farrand Chapelette was gathering dust
in the shadowy porch of Marsden Church.
And was due to be bundled off to the skip.
Or was mine, for a song, if I wanted it.
Sunlight, through stained glass, which day to day
could beatify saints and raise the dead,
had aged the harmonium's softwood case
and yellowed the fingernails of its keys.
And one of its notes had lost its tongue,
and holes were worn in both the treadles
where the organist's feet, in grey, woollen socks
and leather-soled shoes, had pedalled and pedalled.
But its hummed harmonics still struck a chord:
for a hundred years that organ had stood
by the choristers' stalls, where father and son,
each in their time, had opened their throats
and glided finches ­ like high notes ­ had streamed out.
Through his own blue cloud of tobacco smog,
with smoker's fingers and dotted thumbs,
he comes to help me cart it away.
And we carry it flat, laid on its back.
And he, being him, can't help but say
that the next box I'll shoulder through his nave
will bear the freight of his own dead weight.
And I, being me, then mouth in reply
some shallow or sorry phrase or word
too starved of breath to make itself heard.
Simon Armitage


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