Simon Armitage

Summer 2018

No one really believes those police barracks
are student dorms. Through shuttered windows
late-night dog-walkers on the path through the woods
have glimpsed truncheons and braided caps
hanging on bedposts and bedroom doors,
or heard raucous gypsy-bashing songs
ricocheting among sycamores.

The constables here carry revolvers
but buy their own bullets;
low wages keep the body count down,
though like any city
with a history worth knowing the capital boasts
gunshot holes plugged with chewing gum
at chest height on the cathedral walls.

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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