• On an Overgrown Path

    Simon Armitage

    Spring 2018

    The alternative guidebook leads
    to a partially cleared space in the forest,
    but the next page has been ripped out.

    What is it I’m supposed to be looking for here?
    A flint arrowhead lodged
    in the trunk of an ancient oak?
    The spot where Janáček sat and composed?
    Is this the furthest point from the coast?

    Sometimes I go upstairs
    then can’t remember why.
    And when did these flower-arranger’s hands
    at the ends of my arms
    become mine?

    But I like this place, where a blimp crash-landed,
    where ley lines cross,
    where a trapdoor leads to an underground church
    hewn from a seam of coal, where the sterling silver shoes
    from a lost team of sacred horses
    are still occasionally unearthed.

    Simon Armitage lives in Yorkshire, United Kingdom, and is professor of poetry at the University of Leeds. His most recent collection is "The Unaccompanied" (Faber & Faber, UK, Knopf, US, 2017), and his medieval translations include "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" (Faber & Faber, UK, Norton, US, 2007). His dramatic reworkings of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey have been performed at Shakespeare’s Globe, London. In 2015 he was appointed Oxford University professor of poetry.

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