About the poet
Simon Armitage (b. 1963) burst onto the poetry scene with Zoom! in 1989 and quickly established...
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We went out
into the school yard together, me and the boy
whose name and face
I don't remember. We were testing the range
of the human voice:
he had to shout for all he was worth
I had to raise an arm
from across the divide to signal back
that the sound had carried.
He called from over the park - I lifted an arm.
Out of bounds,
he yelled from the end of the road,
from the foot of the hill,
from beyond the look-out post of Fretwell's Farm -
I lifted an arm.
He left town, went on to be twenty years dead
with a gunshot hole
in the roof of his mouth, in Western Australia.
Boy with the name and face I don't remember,
you can stop shouting now, I can still hear you.
from The Universal Home Doctor (Faber & Faber, 2004), copyright © Simon Armitage 2004, used by permission of the author and the publisher.
Simon Armitage Reading from His Poems