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The Stephen Armitage Poem in 'The Times' - a new interpretation

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The Stephen Armitage Poem in 'The Times' - a new interpretation

Post by Tony Bennett on 18.03.10 0:54

You may remember a few weeks ago the simply breathtakingly beautiful poem by Stephen Armitage in The Times, to mark the occasion of the launch of 1,000 flaming lanterns across the night skies of these islands.

Here's the original poem, in black, with the interpretation of each line in red underneath:

The Beacon - by Simon Armitage

Dusk, doubt, the growing depth of an evening sky,
What time shall we sound the alarm?
dark setting in as it did that night,
Rip off the cover of that sticker-book and create this evening's timeline!
the forever vastness of outer space
Get our version out via SKY satellite!
reflecting the emptiness here inside,
The GNR have gone. Make out a new timeline, Russell!
shadowing, colouring, clouding the mind.
Confusion is good!

But somewhere out there there has to be life,
And we must keep saying it ad nauseam!
the distance only a matter of time,
We'll leave Praia da Luz if they make us arguidos!
a world like our own, its markings and shades
Enjoying adult fun and being 'into each other' without the children spoling our fun!
as uniquely formed as a daughter’s eye,
Now that would be a brilliant marketing ploy!
distinctly flecked, undeniably hers,
Who cares if the Portuguese police advise against mentioning this?
looking back this way through the miles and years
Still looking nervously over our shoulders, three years later!
to a lantern cupping a golden blaze,
A great big golden chalice of a Fund!
its candle alive with a fierce blonde flame
Burning money on dodgy private investigation agencies like Metodo 3 and Oakley International!
for the thousandth time, for as long as it takes.
TV shows, libel awards, fun runs and celebrity parties at Branson's!

++++++++++

Adapted from an original by someone else from another place

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Re: The Stephen Armitage Poem in 'The Times' - a new interpretation

Post by Autumn on 18.03.10 1:08

Many a true word said in jest laugh

From what I recall of the comments, Times readers were not impressed with Stephen Armitage's efforts and were angered by his fawning support of the McCanns.

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Re: The Stephen Armitage Poem in 'The Times' - a new interpretation

Post by Judge Mental on 18.03.10 1:24

It rather looks like as if this person has never heard if two EVRD dogs called Eddie and Keela.

If only he had read the police files without writing this pile of drivel. I have found more hope and cheer in a used handkerchief.

Maybe The Times would like to print the above alternative version on day. If only for balance.

Surrounding themselves with Priests and poets will not keep these people from finally going to prison. It is their destiny, and nobody can fight against fate.

I will try and write a poem all about fighting fate. There won't be any beacons in it, but there may be something to say about looking back over the miles and years that they have had everybody running their arses ragged trying to obfuscate evidence for them.

Interesting to note that Baggott is now running the police in Northern Ireland. Just how do people like this get all the top jobs?

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Re: The Stephen Armitage Poem in 'The Times' - a new interpretation

Post by Chinagirl on 18.03.10 7:25

That is an appalling desecration of a message of hope and compassion. One sincerely hopes that the Christian Bennett is not the author of the despoliation.

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Re: The Stephen Armitage Poem in 'The Times' - a new interpretation

Post by Get'emGonçalo on 18.03.10 7:38

@Chinagirl wrote:That is an appalling desecration of a message of hope and compassion. One sincerely hopes that the Christian Bennett is not the author of the despoliation.

If one reads the last line of Tony's post it quite clearly says: "Adapted from an original by someone else from another place".

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Re: The Stephen Armitage Poem in 'The Times' - a new interpretation

Post by aiyoyo on 18.03.10 8:19

Oh well, it just goes to show there are other people out there whose views of mccanns are not much.

The Poet was reluctant to do a piece for mccanns but gpt persuaded - it will be a shame there will a be stain to his collection of works when the mccanns go down.

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Re: The Stephen Armitage Poem in 'The Times' - a new interpretation

Post by vaguely1 on 18.03.10 8:30

Aiyoyo, I hadn't heard he was reluctant to do it - do you know what his reasons for being reluctant were?

ty

Also, his name is Simon, I guess if people are going to mess about with his work it may be polite to give him his correct name.

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Re: The Stephen Armitage Poem in 'The Times' - a new interpretation

Post by Pascal on 18.03.10 11:24

Well whatever way you look at it, it was a crap poem.

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Re: The Stephen Armitage Poem in 'The Times' - a new interpretation

Post by Chinagirl on 18.03.10 11:32

Yes, I did notice the sentence underneath the parody. Was just taken aback that such ugliness was thought to be worth another airing in a different place. Whether one "liked" the original poem or not, it was the poet's attempt to offer hope, comfort and compassion, and to desecrate it like that was akin to parodying a much-loved hymn.

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Re: The Stephen Armitage Poem in 'The Times' - a new interpretation

Post by Pascal on 18.03.10 11:35

I think that might be over egging the pudding. The poet would do better writing soppy one liners for greetings cards - hardly a 'desecration'.

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Re: The Stephen Armitage Poem in 'The Times' - a new interpretation

Post by vaguely1 on 18.03.10 12:04

Not to my liking, as a poem - BUT it's about hope for a child, and it seems very mean spirited to take someone's words and cheapen them like that.

It isn't about the parents, it's written about Madeleine.

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Re: The Stephen Armitage Poem in 'The Times' - a new interpretation

Post by aiyoyo on 18.03.10 12:09

@vaguely1 wrote:Aiyoyo, I hadn't heard he was reluctant to do it - do you know what his reasons for being reluctant were?

ty

Also, his name is Simon, I guess if people are going to mess about with his work it may be polite to give him his correct name.

Simon Armitage was approached by a friend, Emma Loach, a director who worked with the McCanns on a television documentary for the commission. IIRC it was reported he was not keen but was persuaded to at least meet up with the mccanns .......

Dont ask me where I read it...because I cant be arsed to google it, but there definitely was a mention of that. YOu will have to do your own research.

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Re: The Stephen Armitage Poem in 'The Times' - a new interpretation

Post by Autumn on 18.03.10 12:10

Chinagirl, somewhere on the forum there is a thread where you can read the comments by Times readers regarding Armitage's poem - some who were familiar with his poetry said it was very disappointing and seemed like it had been written in a hurry with little thought put into it.

I agree, Pascal, he really would be better suited to writing verses in greetings cards Laughing

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Re: The Stephen Armitage Poem in 'The Times' - a new interpretation

Post by Pascal on 18.03.10 12:17

Personally, I wouldn't ridicule anybody - but there are many on both sides who do. There has been worse said and done toward individuals who have taken an interest in this case.

Mean spirits on all fora.

As for the poem, I see it a sentimental shite written for attention rather than to inspire hope. Set yourself up for ridicule and expect it tenfold.

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Re: The Stephen Armitage Poem in 'The Times' - a new interpretation

Post by aiyoyo on 18.03.10 12:27

quote="vaguely1"]Not to my liking, as a poem - BUT it's about hope for a child, and it seems very mean spirited to take someone's words and cheapen them like that.

It isn't about the parents, it's written about Madeleine.[/quote]

I beg to differ. It's all to with the parents and their hunger for publicity to make them look good, and f. all to do with Madeleine. May I ask how a poem will help find a missing child?

Remember GM said from the onset they want big events to remember Maddie 1 year on etc.
How did he know she wont be found for ........
Planning celebrations for missing child for 1000 days or whatever peiod...must be the first in history.....wtf.

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Re: The Stephen Armitage Poem in 'The Times' - a new interpretation

Post by aiyoyo on 18.03.10 12:30

@Pascal wrote: Set yourself up for ridicule and expect it tenfold.

Spot on. They brought it on themselves.
From the time Maddie disappeared, it was all about narcissistic mccanns.

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Re: The Stephen Armitage Poem in 'The Times' - a new interpretation

Post by Pascal on 18.03.10 14:03

actually, I was referring to the so called 'poet'.

What a load of old mush.

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Re: The Stephen Armitage Poem in 'The Times' - a new interpretation

Post by vaguely1 on 18.03.10 18:29

@aiyoyo wrote:
@vaguely1 wrote:Aiyoyo, I hadn't heard he was reluctant to do it - do you know what his reasons for being reluctant were?

ty

Also, his name is Simon, I guess if people are going to mess about with his work it may be polite to give him his correct name.

Simon Armitage was approached by a friend, Emma Loach, a director who worked with the McCanns on a television documentary for the commission. IIRC it was reported he was not keen but was persuaded to at least meet up with the mccanns .......

Dont ask me where I read it...because I cant be arsed to google it, but there definitely was a mention of that. YOu will have to do your own research.

Noooo, it doesn't work that way. You can't make a claim and then insist people prove you wrong. that's cheating. iconbiggrin

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Re: The Stephen Armitage Poem in 'The Times' - a new interpretation

Post by aiyoyo on 19.03.10 14:22

Vaguely

I am so going to kill you...I've wasted the best part of my day doing something I abhor ie googling. Here's the link.

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/poetry/article7003583.ece

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Re: The Stephen Armitage Poem in 'The Times' - a new interpretation

Post by Judge Mental on 19.03.10 15:32

Michael Molyneux wrote:
If a young student presented this poem you'd be impressed: 'this guy's got talent', we'd assume 'he could really make it' - but Simon Armitage is a grown 'man' and should know better. What a warbling idiot. It's as though he was bored once evening, took out a beer mat, dropped his pants and started farting adjectives hoping for the best "the VASTNESS of outer space", "candle alive with a FIERCE BLONDE FLAME" - is this some kind of joke? I often wonder if writers actually READ other people's work or just get so lost in the feeling the creative process brings that they loose sight of what they're actually doing and the standards they should live up to and their responsibility as public figures. What a total prick. He once said that On The Road was "absolute rubbish" having re-read it as an adult. Granted, it's not as gripping as when you first read it young but... I'm going to have to go and have another shower to calm myself down...

**************************************************

I think this gentleman sums up some of the feelings I have about this ridiculous man who has been hailed as a poet. Whatever it was that possessed or forced Armitage to write this contrived twaddle is anybody's guess.

If I were to be gracious, I would consider that he did not have any choice in the matter, and merely spewed this out because his testicles were about to be rolled through a mangle. laugh

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Re: The Stephen Armitage Poem in 'The Times' - a new interpretation

Post by vaguely1 on 19.03.10 16:33

@aiyoyo wrote:Vaguely

I am so going to kill you...I've wasted the best part of my day doing something I abhor ie googling. Here's the link.

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/poetry/article7003583.ece


thank you thank you :)

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Re: The Stephen Armitage Poem in 'The Times' - a new interpretation

Post by vaguely1 on 19.03.10 16:37

At first Simon Armitage wasn’t sure what to make of the request. Would he consider writing a poem to mark the thousand days since the disappearance of Madeleine McCann?

He felt awkward, he explains. “I said I didn’t think I could do it. You know, the difficulty of writing something that would need to be quite intimate and not wanting to poke around in their grief and intrude. Then we talked about it a little more.”

The request came from the director Emma Loach, who worked with Gerry and Kate McCann on a television documentary last year and is also a friend of Armitage. Would he at least meet Kate McCann, she suggested? He agreed. “I thought that was probably the only way of doing it. I wanted to make sure that they were on board.”

And so the Yorkshire-based poet, a strong contender for the poet laureate appointment last year, met Kate McCann at the family’s home in Rothley, Leicestershire. As they talked, Armitage came to understand the McCanns’ motivation, and how he might be able to help.
Related Links

* How words make sense of the world

* How poets see modern life

* Simon Armitage's Madeleine McCann poem

“They want to keep Madeleine alive in lots of different ways,” he says. “They want to keep the search for her alive. I think also they want to do things for her as any parent would. On my part, like a lot of people, it’s something that right from the beginning I felt moved by.

“To function as a poet you’ve got to have a certain amount of detachment. But to make the poem work for the McCanns, and for it to be meaningful as a piece of writing, you need to know what they think and to have a bit more of a feeling for it. One of the things I talked to Kate about was how difficult it must be to keep out that fear and that doubt and darkness. We talked about the night Madeleine went missing, those terrible hours of darkness before it became light again and they could resume the search. It was like meeting in the middle.”

He asked for some details to inform his poemand in response Gerry and Katewrote him a couple of pages about Madeleine, their thoughts and feelings. Through that, Armitage learnt of the candle they keep burning in a lantern in their village square.

“That’s how it works with a poem sometimes, just one little thing. I’d been looking at the photograph that was used of Madeleine in the campaign, where you can see the fleck in her eye. I found myself thinking about Jupiter. If you look at Jupiter there’s something bottom left that they call the great red spot. It’s an anticyclone thousands of miles across that looks like a little eye to us, like a fleck in the planet’s face. Then I started thinking, is there life out there?

“That became the conceit for the poem, looking out for signs of life and the idea of keeping a light burning here for life looking back this way. The McCanns are optimistic, I think you can call that optimism hope. They have hope and that’s what keeps them going. One thing Kate will say is that they don’t have any concrete evidence to say that she’s dead. For as long as that’s the case, they have a parent’s duty and it’s their fierce desire to keep looking for her. And they have faith, they are strong Roman Catholics. That sense of lighting a candle, saying a prayer, keeping hope burning — I was trying to tap into that as well.”

The result, a sonnet, was also informed by his own experience of being the father of a ten-year-old daughter, Armitage acknowledges. “Parents can identify with the McCanns losing something that is your whole world, around which things orbit. For most of us it’s an unimaginable loss. That’s one of the reasons that their story is so powerful.”

The McCanns have described the poem as “beautiful” and have told Armitage that it captures many of their feelings and the issues around the loss of their daughter.

Armitage responds by saying that this is what he does. His ability to write with intimacy and yet without intruding is partly because he is no stranger to writing about topical and sensitive events. His poem Out of the Blue was a response to the fifth anniversary of 9/11.

He has given the McCanns a handwritten copy of this poem that will be auctioned tonight at an event to raise funds for their campaign. He will also sign over the copyright to them. “They can do whatever they want with it,” he says. “This is my way of trying to do something.”

www.findmadeleine.com




--------------------------------

His reluctance to do it seem to be more brought about through fear of upsetting them by intruding on their grief.

I don't like the poem, but still think as it was written for Madeleine it is a little spiteful for adults to be ripping it to shreds.

So I will pretend that I like it. and make no further comment.

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Snuffed out

Post by Tony Bennett on 19.03.10 16:41

@vaguely1 wrote:Through that, Armitage learnt of the candle they keep burning in a lantern in their village square.
It was out the last time I was in Rothley.

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Re: The Stephen Armitage Poem in 'The Times' - a new interpretation

Post by vaguely1 on 19.03.10 16:50

I didn't write that?

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Re: The Stephen Armitage Poem in 'The Times' - a new interpretation

Post by aiyoyo on 20.03.10 14:09

Extracted quote
"They want to keep Madeleine alive in lots of different ways", he says.

That suggests more like she is dead and they want to keep her 'memory alive', and not keep the 'hope alive'.

I dont even bother to read the poem closely because I dont see how a poem can help find Maddie.
Poem dedicated to a specific person is usually written in remembrance of the death anyway.

So, the contents of this particular one is beside the point for me. Its not a true reflection of the fate Maddie met. Its a one-sided reflection of her parents account.

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