Simon Armitage was born in 1963 and lives in West Yorkshire. Simon Armitage has taught at the University of Leeds and the University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop, and currently teaches at Manchester Metropolitan University. He writes biographical poems, which are based on things, which he has experienced in his life. In this essay I will be comparing and contrasting three of Simon Armitage's poems, Cataract Operation, About His Person and Poem.
The subject matter in Cataract Operation is about the poet looking out of his window and seeing things in a way he has never seen them before, like pigeons in the yard, washing on a line, and hens pecking for food. This is because a cataract operation clears the lens of his eye's, which has become unclear, so the poet is affectionate to his new way of seeing things to having had a difficulty in front of his eyes cleared away by surgery. The subject matter is a happier and more enjoyable compared to About His Person. About His Person lists all the items that a dead man had upon him when he was discovered.
It reads like a police officer's report. The following quotations "an analogue watch, self-winding, stopped", "but beheaded in his fist", and "a ring of white unweathered skin" all show a sign of a wrecked and finished life. Poem could be similarly compared to the two other poems. The reason being is as it shows signs of affectionate love and signs of tragedy and deceitfulness. Poem is about a husband and a father who has a serious problem with his frame of mind. "
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And if it snowed and snow covered the drive he took a spade and tossed it to one side, and always tucked his daughter up at night, and slippered her the one time that she lied. This quote shows us that he had a mixed personality and proves sometimes he did this, and sometimes he did that. The language used in Cataract Operation can be very misleading, as the poet creates phrases, which could mean a number of things and is left to the reader to decide. "A pigeon in the yard turns tail" is an example of the misleading language used because we imagine the bird turning around so that its tail faces the poet in the window, while at the same time we can read turns tail as 'runs away from' or 'turns its back on', as if it is snubbing the poet.
Simon Armitage also uses a mixture of metaphors and personifications so that every item of drying laundry takes on a characteristic movement of the country or place that we might associate that item with. For example, the shirt is doing "monkey business", as if the shirtsleeves were the monkey's arms and the handkerchief waves cheerio as the original type of British man who wears a handkerchief in his chest pocket might do. The poem is laid out in ten couplets, but they are not rhyming couplets as we observe in About His Person. There is no steadiness in the length of the lines, to highlight that everything the poet sees is new and irregular.
The language used in About His Person is very similar to the language used in cataract operation. Again the poet uses a number of misleading expressions, like the title itself. It could be a formal way of saying, "he had on him", but if you look at it in a different manner then it could also suggest that the poem is about the dead person whom is the subject of the poem. About His Person written in ten two-line stanzas called rhyming couplets. They are short and accurate, just like the notes that a detective might make if he or she was investigating a dead body.
The language used in Poem is different compared to the other two poems, as the words are simple. There is no misleading phrases used and the language could be considered as straight forward and formal. "And every week he tipped up half his wage. And what he didn't spend each week he saved. And praised his wife for every meal she made. And once, for laughing, punched her in the face. " This language is easy to understand and is uncomplicated compared to About His Person and Cataract Operation. Poem is a sonnet, which is often the figure used for love poetry.
Maybe, this highlights the lack of love in the man's life. It is divided into three regular stanzas with a couplet to finish. This might help to underline the steadiness and ordinariness of the man's life. The Ideas and attitudes of cataract could be very difficult to understand. We do not know what it was that made the Simon Armitage suddenly see all the objects he talks about in a new manner. Perhaps he did have a cataract operation or maybe he was imagining what it must be like to have one or he could even use the idea of a cataract operation as an image of what it is like to open your eyes.
One thing is for sure, that he is trying to explain that we should appreciate our world and see the inner beauty that it possesses. The poet for example saw the images according to his situation and saw the magic in the simplest way and opened his eyes towards it. This cannot be compared to About His person as in this poem a man is being revived within the poem and the poem could be called as a memorial to him. In this poem Simon Armitage creates a misleading story and we are not totally sure of what happened.
The police do not get emotionally involved in cases like these, as they gather the bare facts and leave the feeling out, but we sympathise for the man as we believe he was forced to kill himself and we see him as a victim of love and deceit. Poem can in a way be similarly compared to Cataract Operation because it tries to prove a point and produce a moral. The way Simon Armitage tried to make people aware of the beauty of our world in Cataract Operation is similar to the way he tries to make the man in Poem represent the ordinary gentlemen and set a message that sometimes you might do this, and sometimes you might do that.
In this poem Simon Armitage does not actually condemn the man for all the things he did wrong; he simply lists the mistakes and leaves us to represent them. Overall I think that About His Person and Poem are similar because they both include the story of a man, whom is involved in marriage and both men have suffered from a problem and in this essay I have fully compared and contrasted all three of Simon Armitage's poems.
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