Sunday, 11 September 2011

Out of the Blue

I've scheduled this post to be published while I'm away for the tenth anniversary of 9/11.

I wanted to share this link to: 'Out of the Blue' - a poem/film written by one of my favourite poets Simon Armitage and performed her by the excellent Rufus Sewell as a British office worker in one of the twin towers. It's in four parts on YouTube and about half an hour in total but well worth sitting through, or even just dipping into.

Excerpt from '10'
We are making our calls.
They are tightropes, strung

from the end of the phone
to a place called home
so our words can escape,

our voices trapeze
for mile after mile
or in my case traverse

the width of the sea.
My beautiful wife,
sit down in the chair,

put the phone to your ear.
Let me say.
Let me hear.

We are spinning a web.
But such delicate threads,
the links so brittle,

too little, too late.
Not one can save us
or bear our weight.

© Simon Armitage

I was coming home from Greece the day it happened. The taxi driver from the airport was babbling about the end of the world but I thought he was a bit mad or something. I went to a supermarket to get bread and milk and noticed a crowd in the electronics section. I saw the image and thought it must be some new disaster movie. It takes a while to sink in.

Where were you?

Excerpt from '13'

what false alarm can be trusted again?
What case or bag can be left unclaimed?
What flight can be sure to steer its course?
What building can claim to own its form?
What future can promise to keep the faith?

Everything changed. Nothing is safe.

© Simon Armitage


  1. I’ve only recently discovered Simon Armitage, so I will seek out the You Tube clips as soon as I have some time to myself. As I also love to hear Rufus Sewell reading poetry I’m sure it will be well worth it. A timely posting.

  2. Absolutely beautiful words. And I don't normally understand poetry! I can't believe it was ten years ago today. I can remember all those horrific images like it was yesterday.

  3. Well, thank you for pointing me towards this. I’ve just sat mesmerised by the performance and the wonderful words. Of course being You Tube I then had to go on and listen to some more Simon Armitage poems. I’ve also watched two episodes of Owen Sheers' series currently showing on BBC TV, ‘A Poet’s Guide to Britain’ in which Simon Armitage appears.

  4. How rarely things coming out of the blue take us out of the red.

  5. One of my colleagues at school was showing me a bit of this last Monday - he was going to share it with one of his classes. Very moving. I love anything Simon Armitage does anyway. In fact, I think I love Simon Armitage ...

  6. Ooops- the danger of scheduling a post when you're away is remembering to come back and respond to comments later... which, to be honest I thought I'd done and sort of remember what I said!?!

    Little Nell - Simon Armitage is one of my fave poets - I love his deadpan Yorkshire delivery too. I normally hate actors reading poems, but Rufus Sewell is perfect here. I have taken rather a shine to him since the first time I saw this - did you see him in 'Zen'?

    Annie - You're reading the wrong poems then, matey - probably high-falutin' stuff. Armitage is the business.

    Christopher - But they sometimes leave us in a grey area.

    Fran - Do you know his poem 'Shout'? - I love that poem. Here's a link but I may have to blog about it at some point...