Simon Armitage

Simon Armitage

Was born in West Yorkshire, England in 1963, and grew up to study the impact of televised violence on young offenders. He even worked as a probation officer for four years before he focused on poetry. Simon's poetry is often largely influenced by other poets such as Ted Hughes, W.H. Auden, and Philip Larkin. He has won many prizes for his works such as the Whitbread prize and the T.S. Eliot prize. He has also written several works of fiction and even a few works for the radio and television. He was named the millennium poet in 1999 and commander of the British Empire in 2010. He is currently professor of poetry at the University of Sheffield.


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It begins as a house, an end terrace

in this case

but it will not stop there. Soon it is

an avenue

which cambers arrogantly past the Mechanics' Institute,

turns left

at the main road without even looking

and quickly it is

a town with all four major clearing banks,

a daily paper

and a football team pushing for promotion.

On it goes, oblivious of the Planning Acts,

the green belts,

and before we know it it is out of our hands:

city, nation,

hemisphere, universe, hammering out in all directions

until suddenly,

mercifully, it is drawn aside through the eye

of a black hole

and bulleted into a neighbouring galaxy, emerging

smaller and smoother

than a billiard ball but weighing more than Saturn.

People stop me in the street, badger me

in the check-out queue

and ask "What is this, this that is so small

and so very smooth

but whose mass is greater than the ringed planet?"

It's just words

I assure them. But they will not have it.


The theme of this poem, in my own interpretation, is that life goes by so fast around you and you don't ever have enough time to take it all in. You need to live each moment with the wonder and curiosity of a child in order to experience it all. There is so much to this universe that we don't have the slightest clue about and you are but a small part in the scheme of things, but you need to live life to its fullest and experience all that you can. the theme is shown in this poem because the perspective of the poem seems to be that of an object that starts out flying by small, specific events on earth, but then starts flying by different, large events on a universal scale.
Andrew Scott reads: Zoom! by Simon Armitage