'Before You Cut Loose' by Simon Armitage.

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‘Before You Cut Loose’ by

Simon Armitage

        The poem, ‘Before You Cut Loose’ by Simon Armitage is not set out in structures and is one stanza consisting of twenty three lines. The poem makes use of enjambment so that sentences are not interrupted for the purpose of rhyme. This also means that the sentence structure is not disrupted. Each line of the poem contains ten syllables with the main stress of each sentence being on the fifth and the tenth syllable of each line. By stressing the fifth and tenth syllables, a repetitive tone is created which reflects the casualness, lack of responsibility and callousness that not only does this poem use but that society today uses also. This can be shown to effect in the lines,

“I heard a story of a dog that swam

to the English coast from the Isle of Man”

This also shows full use of rhyme. Not all of the lines in the poem are of full rhyme and some lines include half rhyme such as with the words “life” and “night”. The poem also contains ellipsis in the first line as the poem starts from half way across the page with,


It seems that there are some words missing from the beginning of the poem that makes the poem more interesting and different.

        The poem has a very informal manner. It is not directed at any individual person and the use of ellipsis, where there seems to be a word or more than one word missing from the sentence is used effectively to keep to the ten syllable per line structure. The words “bacon eaten” which are used in the poem seem to be cut short and it feels that it should actually have written, “the bacon was eaten”. It’s register is very standard and it is wrote how you would expect Simon Armitage to say it.

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‘Before You Cut Loose’ has a number of different semantic fields. One of these is the continuous theme of loyalty and obedience. Throughout the poem, Armitage explores the idea of dogs being forgiving, forgetful and kind to their owners even though they have to encounter harsh and violent treatment from them. In this poem, Armitage explains that dogs retain their loyalty no matter what punishments they are given. Their ownes may treat them terribly but they still have the desire and aspiration to return home to their owner, a good quote for this semantic field is,

“To die ...

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