Simon Armitage

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About His Person
Summary: `About His Person' is a Police List describing what has been found on this particular man
who has died. Although at first it just looks like a list of random items, we can look closer at these
items and get a clearer picture of the man's life.
"library card on it's date of expiry" ­ symbolic ­ man's life has expired
Sense of mystery ­ "A post card, stamped, unwritten, franked" ­ odd yet must be significant if he has
kept it
"slashed with a pencil from March...April" ­ "slashed" is harsh word suggesting anger ­ significant
moment in time ­ left open to interpretation
"A brace of Keys for a mortise lock" ­ strong lock contrasts weak character ­ signifies responsibility
"An analogue watch, self-winding, stopped" ­ life stopped ­ symbolic of him giving up with life
"A final demand" ­ final warning for a bill ­ disorganised
"in his own hand" ­ PUN - in his own handwriting
"a rolled up note of explanation" ­ suicide note
"spray carnation" ­ used at wedding ­ ironic
"beheaded" ­ shocking, horrific imagery
"a giveaway photograph stashed in his wallet" ­ of ex-wife ­ "stashed" as if trying to shut it out of his
life but can't get rid of it ­ keeping things close to him
"a keepsake banked in the heart of a locket" ­ love central theme of life ­ sentimental ­ still loves
ex-wife ­ would have belonged to her
"a ring of white unweathered skin" ­ where ring would have been - fairy recent
"That was everything" ­ poignant ­ all he is is a dead man and hs possesions
Not blood thirsty, just sad ­ like a modern elegy
Not in the form of a traditional love poem (sonnet) ­ love can turn sour
Irregular line lengths and enjambment between stanzas and lines ­ broken up ­ symbolic of how the
man's life has broken up

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Rhyme Scheme not predictable/ not traditional capitalisation ­ like man's life itself ­ not completely
predictable ­ life has no organisation
Last line awkward emphasizing it - Para rhyme
List, neat, couplet verses ­ looks neat on the surface but if you look closer you can see the
Tone ­ Sad, moving, poignant, wistful, nostalgic…read more

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1st person ­ self centered
"ansaphone kept screaming" ­ repetition ­ waring him down ­ harsh verb
"one more sick note, mister, and you're finished.…read more

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Middle line sticks out like his anger
Neat ­ routine ­ suggesting that it may have happened before
Confession ­ priest/police
More likely friends ­ boastful tone
Dramatic/ narrative monologue…read more

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To Poverty
"after Laycock" ­ in the style of Laycock ­ 1860s ­ born in same place as Armitage (Marsden)
"you are near...…read more

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­ imperative ­ trying to gain control but poverty cannot be controlled ­ poverty taunting
Rhyme Scheme:
Rhyming couplets
Breaks up as stanzas move along ­ optimistic at first but then hope fades
Sestets ­ different at end when struggling and losing control
Rhythm ­ irregular ­ no control over life
Comical with bitterness underneath ­ sarcastic ­ angry…read more

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True North
"True North" ­ accurate portrayal ­ where Armitage was from
"Hitching Home" ­ punchy alliteration
"last leg" ­ slang
"cold", "iced with snow" ­ cold imagery ­ not welcoming
"unmanned station" ­ no-body around ­ ghost town ­ nothing's happening
"iced with snow" ­ metaphor ­ like a cake
"crow" ­ slang ­ colloquialism
"one term at Portsmouth Poly" ­ older self looking back ­ alliteration ­ arrogant
"all that Falklands business still to come" ­ undermines himself ­ he had done nothing…read more

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­ showing off - colloquial
"the penny drops" ­ looking from his older self he realises what he was like back then and that
home's actually a nice place
"yawned" ­ bored
"I lectured" ­ think's he's cleverer than them and that he knows it all
"make the crossing when the Gulf heals over" ­ symbolic of his view of the North ­ still to learn ­
things will heal over with the locals when he grows up
1st person ­ makes it more…read more

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Wintering Out
"Wintering Out" ­ ironic title ­ waiting for storm to pass ­ sounds tough when actually being helped
out ­ emotionally tough
1st stanza sets scene ­ present tense to emphasize his suffering right here and now
"mother's place" ­ she must find it tough living alone ­ tougher seeing romantic couple - staying
there until they buy their own house
"place, pay, precious" ­ plosive alliteration ­ p is a harsh sound ­ represents his anger
"not lift a finger" ­ metaphor…read more

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­ like a storm ­ frustration at current situation building up ­ intense
"button it" ­ colloquialism ­ not free speech
"that's it you bastard" ­italics ­expletives ­ normal relationship where they are free to argue
"golden hair lime-green" ­ unnatural ­ like situation
"honey" ­ irony/ PUN on honey coloured hair
"the bathroom...will not meet" ­ list like ­ emphasizing lack of privacy
"will not meet." ­ full stop ­ had enough
"undercoating the gutter...…read more


Paul Dutton

Lots of useful information here on a selection of Armitage's poems.

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