It begins as a house, an end terrace
in this case
    but it will not stop there. Soon it is
an avenue
    which cambers arrogantly past the Mechanics' Institute,
turns left
    at the main road without even looking
and quickly it is
    a town with all four major clearing banks,
a daily paper
    and a football team pushing for promotion.

    On it goes, oblivious of the Planning Acts,
the green belts,
    and before we know it it is out of our hands:
city, nation,
    hemisphere, universe, hammering out in all directions
until suddenly,
    mercifully, it is drawn aside through the eye
of a black hole
    and bulleted into a neighbouring galaxy, emerging
smaller and smoother
    than a billiard ball but weighing more than Saturn.

    People stop me in the street, badger me
in the check-out queue
    and ask "What is this, this that is so small
and so very smooth
    but whose mass is greater than the ringed planet?"
It's just words
    I assure them. But they will not have it.

  • Simon Armitage, "Zoom!" from Zoom!. Copyright © 1987 by Simon Armitage.  Reprinted by permission of Bloodaxe Books Ltd.

  • Source: Zoom! (Bloodaxe Books, 1987)

Poet Bio

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"I was surprised that I was able to select poems that are so out of my usual spoken word preference. The Poetry Out Loud website has hundreds of poems that I have never seen before, and the fact that I found 3 and was able to make it so far with them is amazing to me. I guess I learned that stepping outside of the box is okay!"
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2015 IL POL Champion