Copyright 2024 Simon Armitage.


kidAuthor: Simon Armitage

Publisher: Faber and Faber Ltd
Published: 16 September 1999
ISBN: 0571202454
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A Poetry Book Society Choice; shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize. 

Kid was Armitage's second book of poems, his first with Faber and Faber. It includes the themes of domestic tension, law and order, submerged and exploding violence, and the anarchic strain in the human psyche.

Simon Armitages reads the title poem Kid for BBC Teach here. 




Not The Furniture Game

His hair was a crow fished out of a blocked chimney 
and his eyes were boiled eggs with the tops hammered in 
and his blink was a cat flap 
and his teeth were bluestones or the Easter Island statues 
and his bite was a perfect horseshoe. 
His nostrils were both barrels of a shotgun, loaded. 
And his mouth was an oil exploration project gone bankrupt 
and his smile was a caesarean section 
and his tongue was an iguanodon 
and his whistle was a laser beam 
and his laugh was a bad case of kennel cough. 
He coughed, and it was malt whisky. 
And his headaches were Arson in Her Majesty's Dockyards 
and his arguments were outboard motors strangled with fishing line
and his neck was a bandstand 
and his Adam's apple was a ball cock 
and his arms were milk running off from a broken bottle. 
His elbows were boomerangs or pinking shears. 
And his wrists were ankles 
and his handshakes were puff adders in the bran tub 
and his fingers were astronauts found dead in their spacesuits 
and the palms of his hands were action paintings 
and both thumbs were blue touchpaper. 
And his shadow was an opencast mine. 
And his dog was a sentry box with no-one in it 
and his heart was a first world war grenade discovered by children
and his nipples were timers for incendary devices 
and his shoulder blades were two butchers at the meat cleaving competition 
and his belly button was the Falkland Islands 
and his private parts were the Bermuda triangle 
and his backside was a priest hole 
and his stretchmarks were the tide going out. 
The whole system of his blood was Dutch elm disease. 
And his legs were depth charges 
and his knees were fossils waiting to be tapped open 
and his ligaments were rifles wrapped in oilcloth under the floorboards 
and his calves were the undercarriages of Shackletons. 
The balls of his feet were where meteorites had landed 
and his toes were a nest of mice under the lawn mower. 
And his footprints were Vietnam 
and his promises were hot air balloons floating off over the trees
and his one-liners were footballs through other peoples' windows 
and his grin was the Great Wall of China as seen from the moon 
and the last time they talked, it was apartheid.

She was a chair, tipped over backwards 
with his donkey jacket on her shoulders.

They told him, 
and his face was a hole 
where the ice had not been thick enough to hold her.


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