The true university these days is a collection of books.
-Thomas Carlyle

Sunday, 27 July 2008

The Dead Sea Poems by Simon Armitage

I picked up this book from a lovely second hand bookshop in Whitby called Endeavor Books, a great place to lose yourself for an hour or two. As always with poetry books I flicked it open and if something does not catch my eye, I put it back. This one fell open on A Hip Flask and I was hooked. I read the whole book in an evening and found many that I liked and have shared with others many times. While some of the longer poems do not appeal as much, the shorter ones I find interesting and intriguing.
I tend to mark my favourites so I can easily find them when I need to revisit them. In this book these include the strange and disturbing Man with a Golf Ball Heart, the almost nightmarish, Dr Phibes quality of The Anaesthetist, or the funny but poignant C.V. It contains a mixture of rhyming and non rhyming poems.

A Hip Flask

To bring about safe passage to the States
and back, when taken from its sleeve or pouch
this gift sits where it should, tucked like a gun
inside the holster of a pocket, snug
against the leg or thigh or buttock, but
more suitably it fits the chest, the breast,
top left inside a jacket, where it feels
like armour plating or a sheriff's shield.

Good going for a little silver tin:
convex, concave, reflective on the out
and on the in. Misplaced, but then again
not knowing one malt from the next it's gin
that I'll be swigging, tipping to the lips
or sipping from the thimble of its lid.

I have a watch, map, toothbrush, cards and cash,
a licence, permit, pass, a ticket
going Eastern Seaboard, Central, Mountain
and Pacific,
and a hip flask: tailored, weighed
and measured, worked both ways, this present made
to hide the heart and hold the heart in place.

Simon Armitage

If you want to know more about Simon Armitage, here is a link to his website...


Gentle Reader said...

Wow, really like The Hip Flask. I'm going to use your method of choosing books of poems at the next bookshop I'm in :)

amber and me said...

Hello Leah. Your blog is completely sublime. I am not a great reader of anything but the sunday paper supplements but I am feeling very inspired reading all this wonderful stuff. Its totally taken me away to another place. Hope you are well lovely lady.
Emma (your Hay-on-Wye friend)

Leah said...

Ahhh thanks Emma, lovely to hear from you, I'm glad you like it. I hope you drop by again, and I see I got a mention on your post about our visit to Hay. Lovely weekend! I hope you and Amber are well. XX

Gentle Reader: thanks for your comment. I am glad you liked the poem. Hope you drop by again soon.

Hay on Wye

Hay on Wye