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Cataract Operation Simon Armitage

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Introduction

Cataract Operation Simon Armitage Title The title refers to the removal of a dull film from the eyes. This is a poem about sight and awareness. Structure Another poem of twenty lines, being made up of ten couplets. Again the poet plays with rhyme as in the pun "hens" and "lens". Language The poem is rife with clich´┐Ż, metaphor and puns. The poem starts with a very distinctive simile: "The sun comes like a head through last night's turtleneck." This not only gives the reader a comical image of the sun coming up but links this time of day with waking up and hurrying to dress up in yesterday's clothes. ...read more.

Middle

The theatrical metaphor is continued with "a pantomime of damp, forgotten washing" which now plays out the entertainment, where these ordinary things are transformed. So, as the wind stirs the washing, the poet imagines a bull fight enacted with the crimson towel, a can-can danced by the fluttering ra-ra skirt, the mischievous behaviour of the shirt, which flaps animatedly in the wind pegged only by its sleeve, waving of a handkerchief like an informal goodbye, and imagines a parade of hens are a company of soldiers strutting round the courtyard. Parts of the pictures are real and some are imagined. ...read more.

Conclusion

The images in this poem are highly polished, dazzling literary images but it is apparent that the Armitage is playing with these, imitating some of his fellow poets who prize the stunning poetic image above all else. At the end of the poem though the poet makes it clear that he does not want to use poetic images in such a literary way. He suggests that he admires the virtuosity of his colleagues while at the same time deploring their lack of content ("a company of half a dozen hens...looks round the courtyard/for a contact lens.") What the poet said about the poem: - "Poetry is a way of looking at the world. But you can take that way of looking at the world too far." ...read more.

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