About the poet
Simon Armitage (b. 1963) burst onto the poetry scene with Zoom! in 1989 and quickly established...
Well it was St George's Day in New York.
They'd dyed the Hudson with cochineal and chalk.
Bulldogs were arse-to-mouth in Central Park.
Mid-town, balloons drifted up, red and white streamers
flowed like plasma and milk. The Mayor on a float on Fifth,
resplendent, sunlight detonating on his pearly suit.
The President followed, doing the Lambeth Walk.
It was an election year on both counts. In the Royal Oak
boiled beef was going for a song. Some Dubliner
played along, came out with cockney rhyming-slang,
told jokes against his own and spoke of cousins twice removed
from Islington, which made him one of us.
A paper dragon tripped down Lexington, its tongue
truly forked. Two hands thrust from its open throat:
in the left, a red rose; in the right, a collection box
for the National Trust. I mean the National Front.
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