Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I read this today in Simon Armitage's collection Shout while taking a procrastinatory bath. It's not the subject that attracts me here (though it helps), but rather the energy, the pushing rhythm that leaves you breathless at the end.

Simon Armitage

Batman, big shot, when you gave the order
to grow up, then let me loose to wander
leeward, freely through the wild blue yonder
as you liked to say, or ditched me, rather,
in the gutter. . .well, I turned the corner.
Now I've scotched that ' he was like a father
to me' rumour, sacked it, blown the cover
on that 'he was like an elder brother'
story, let the cat out on that caper
with the married woman, how you took her
downtown on expenses in the motor.
Holy robin-redbreast-nest-egg-shocker!
Holy roll-me-over-in-the-clover,
I'm not playing ball boy any longer
Batman, now I've doffed the off-the-shoulder
Sherwood-Forest-green and scarlet number
for a pair of jeans and crew-neck jumper;
now I'm taller, harder, stronger, older.
Batman, it makes a marvellous picture:
you without a shadow, stewing over
chicken giblets in the pressure cooker,
next to nothing in the walk-in larder,
punching the palm of your hand all winter,
you baby, now I'm the real boy wonder.


FOSCO said...

I am floored by this poem.

Maggie said...

After the first read through, I'm pretty sure I exclaimed "Damn" out loud.

His translation/imagining of Gawain often has a similar energy to this, and an abundance of alliteration.