February 23, 2011 book of poems
A load of my peers will probably remember the AQA poetry anthology that we studied at GCSE… which actually had quite a lot of really decent contemporary poetry. The poems that always come back to me are the small selection of Simon Armitage‘s title-less matches. Especially this one:
Mother, any distance greater than a single span
requires a second pair of hands.
You come to help me measure windows, pelmets, doors,
the acres of the walls, the prairies of the floors.
You at the zero-end, me with the spool of tape, recording
length, reporting metres, centimetres back to base, then leaving
up the stairs, the line still feeding out, unreeling
years between us. Anchor. Kite.
I space-walk through the empty bedrooms, climb
the ladder to the loft, to breaking point, where something
has to give;
two floors below your fingertips still pinch
the last one-hundredth of an inch … I reach
towards a hatch that opens on an endless sky
to fall or fly.
They’re each supposed to be able to be read in the time it takes to strike and burn one match. There’s something wonderful about that.
You can buy the whole volume in one of those sexy one colour editions by faber and faber… drool…