About the Poem
About the poet
In May 2019, Simon Armitage (b. 1963) was named as the UK's Poet Laureate, an appointment...
To Do List
● Sharpen all pencils.
● Check off-side rear tyre pressure.
● Defrag hard-drive.
● Consider life and times of Donald Campbell, CBE.
● Shampoo billiard-room carpet.
● Learn one new word per day.
● Make circumnavigation of Coniston Water by foot, visit Coniston Cemetery to pay respects.
● Achieve Grade 5 Piano by Easter.
● Go to fancy dress party as Donald Campbell complete with crash helmet and life jacket.
● Draft pro-forma apology letter during meditation session.
● Check world-ranking.
● Skim duckweed from ornamental pond.
● Make fewer “apple to apple” comparisons.
● Consider father’s achievements only as barriers to be broken.
● Dredge Coniston Water for sections of wreckage/macabre souvenirs.
● Lobby service-provider to un-bundle local loop network.
● Remove all invasive species from British countryside.
● Build 1/25 scale model of Bluebird K7 from toothpicks and spent matches.
● Compare own personality with traits of those less successful but more popular.
● Eat (optional).
● Breathe (optional).
● Petition for high-speed fibre-optic broadband to this postcode.
● Order by express delivery DVD copy of Across the Lake starring Anthony Hopkins as “speed king Donald Campbell.”
● Gain a pecuniary advantage.
● Initiate painstaking reconstruction of Donald Campbell’s final seconds using archive film footage and forensic material not previously released into public domain.
● Polyfilla all surface cracking to Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah.
● Develop up to four thousand five hundred pounds/force of thrust.
● Carry on regardless despite suspected skull fracture.
● Attempt return run before allowing backwash ripples to completely subside.
● Open her up.
● Subscribe to convenient one-a-day formulation of omega oil capsules for balanced and healthy diet.
● Reserve full throttle for performance over “measured mile”.
● Relocate to dynamic urban hub.
● Eat standing up to avoid time-consuming table manners and other non-essential mealtime rituals.
● Remain mindful of engine cut-out caused by fuel-starvation.
● Exceed upper limits.
●Make extensive observations during timeless moments of somersaulting prior to impact.
from The Unaccompanied (Faber, 2017), © Simon Armitage 2016, used by permission of the author and the publisher
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