My favourite poem by Simon Armitage is currently It Ain’t What You Do It’s What It Does To You. I say ‘currently’ because I’ll probably change my mind when I read his collection Seeing Stars again.
In the poem, he couples three impressive things he has not done with three seemingly very ordinary things he has done. Armitage has described the poem as a ‘rant’, but it is a beautiful rant and one that reminds me of the perennial chip on my own shoulder.
In the final stanza, he writes of ‘the tiny cascading sensation/somewhere inside us’ and then, as with the three previous comparisons, he returns to the ordinary with the unnecessary clarification ‘That feeling, I mean.’ It’s as if he’s saying, ‘This is how people like me should talk,’ having spent the best part of five stanzas demonstrating how language and the meaning we invest in particular moments can at least briefly elevate us above the realities of class.
Reading the above three paragraphs back to myself makes me wonder whether I should apply to be poetry editor at The Morning Star. Or perhaps I should just keep reading Armitage’s work and enjoy his talent.