Poem introduction

These are two short poems about pieces of furniture. One is a bed and the other is a chair. I think at some point it had been my plan to try and itemise the whole house but this is as far as I got. I sometimes try and write still life poems, that is to sit down in front of an object to try and recreate it through language, just sit there and try and catch its aspects and its shadows and its angels and its associations. I think quite often if a poet turns up with a couple of poems about items of furniture ts because they've had a residency in Ikea but these just came about naturally.

A Bed and A Chair

Unmade, mid-morning. 

A dress where it fell, where you snaked from it.

The slab of the bed sheet, marbled with creases. 

 

These pillows washed up

along the strand-line.  Plunder.  Salvage? 

The end of the world beyond its edge. 

 

The patch of grass where we took down the tent. 

A gift – the gift-wrap disturbed,

the present taken. 

 

The quilt rolled back,

the wave not broken, always breaking.

The book left open, the page you were reading.

 

--

 

All on its lonesome.  Itself solitary.

Hieroglyph of the detainee. 

This dining chair, the four bare legs,

 

orphaned foal, turned to the wall.

An armchair slumps, exhausted, tired of the wait. 

This highchair implores to be lifted, held. 

 

Compare the sofa or corny settee,

the cushioned togetherness, the chummy repose. 

 

Then pity the chair.  The meal for one. 

Throne of the snubbed.  After the enquiry.

Hooded and bound, fully confessed. 

 

The policeman takes off his helmet.

The consultant closes the door.

Yourself only.  Sit down.  A chair.


from The Unaccompanied (Faber, 2017), © Simon Armitage 2016, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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