Simon Armitage - Comparison of Two Poems

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Simon Armitage writes about a range of different topics.  In the two poems I have chosen, he focuses on people and personal experience.  I will briefly describe both poems and show how each poem reveals something about Human nature.

        I will begin with the poem “About his person”.  This poem lists all the items a dead man had upon him when he was discovered.  In many ways, these objects represent the mans life.  It reads like a police report.  Although the poem cannot tell us anything about the mans thoughts, it tells us a lot about the mans life.  The poem is deceptively simple.

        There is a pun in the title.  “About his person” is a formal way of saying “he had on him” but it also emphasises that the poem is about a dead person.  This is an example of how Armitage uses ambiguous language.  Also, his technique of colloquial language makes his poems more meaningful.  Both poems are about ordinary people.  Another example of ambiguous language is:


“A give-away photograph stashed in his wallet,

A keepsake banked in the heart of a locket”.


We ask ourselves, is the photograph “stashed in his wallet” the equivalent of  a keepsake in a locket, or were they two separate items.  The photographs makes us think that he may have had loved ones.  After all it is human nature to love someone.

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Armitage uses a simile in line twelve.  Up until line twelve the diction is factual and plain.  In line 12, he compares the note of explanation to a spray carnation.  Carnations being funeral flowers, are associated with death or a funeral and reminds us that that somehow the man died.  The use of language points towards how humans experience depression and even suicide.  In this poem, each item is described precisely.

Armitage begins the list with a normal £5.50 in the mans pocket, “exactly”.  He mentions “a library card on its date of expiry”.  The card is invalid.  Just like ...

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