poet Simon Armitage

Simon Armitage

#40 on top 500 poets

It Ain'T What You Do, It's What It Does To You

I have not bummed across America
with only a dollar to spare, one pair
of busted Levi's and a bowie knife.
I have lived with thieves in Manchester.

I have not padded through the Taj Mahal,
barefoot, listening to the space between
each footfall picking up and putting down
its print against the marble floor. But I


skimmed flat stones across Black Moss on a day
so still I could hear each set of ripples
as they crossed. I felt each stone's inertia
spend itself against the water; then sink.

I have not toyed with a parachute cord
while perched on the lip of a light-aircraft;
but I held the wobbly head of a boy
at the day centre, and stroked his fat hands.

And I guess that the tightness in the throat
and the tiny cascading sensation
somewhere inside us are both part of that
sense of something else. That feeling, I mean.

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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Comments about It Ain'T What You Do, It's What It Does To You by Simon Armitage

  • Wesley D. Willis (7/20/2020 12:45:00 PM)

    I enjoyed this poem, and the one before.

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  • Mahtab BangaleeMahtab Bangalee (6/30/2020 4:25:00 AM)

    If I
    the real me
    by the inside and outside
    no one does anything harmful for me!

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  • Keith BrownKeith Brown (5/6/2020 8:23:00 AM)

    I find the comments here, different! On all the other poems I have so far read, not one negative or critic, was beginning to think every poem was good, I suppose it is for someone.! I quite liked the poem. Do we think this poet has broader shoulders than the rest? Constructive hopefully, we could all do with that

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  • Dr Tony BrahminDr Tony Brahmin (4/17/2020 3:54:00 PM)

    I have not padded through the Taj Mahal,
    barefoot, listening to the space between
    each footfall picking up and putting down
    its print against the marble floor. print against the marble floor. wonderful description. tony

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  • tom billsborough (5/16/2019 8:18:00 AM)

    Starts poorly but the later stanzas are good. Mind you I prefer Wallace Stevens. He didn't around the States on a dime. He just wrote Great poetry.

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  • Keith Spencer (5/11/2019 3:20:00 AM)

    This is Prose. Putting in a 'line break; in an odd position doesn't make it poetry.

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  • Adrian FlettAdrian Flett (9/12/2018 3:15:00 AM)

    Vivid images of 'that sense of something else.'

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  • Lyn Cramer (5/28/2018 10:29:00 AM)

    I love the humanness of this poem, it's expression of what we bring to our experiencing, contrasted with the thought that some scenes and experiences are better than others. It is a non hierarchical and thus real and evocative poem.

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  • Fari Bradley (5/25/2004 12:39:00 AM)

    This is lovely is weaves together human experience for us all, his closer to home experiences count for as much as the romantic ones he describes. Very tender and inspiring. Again I feel why it works is that it appeals to us all we've had not dissimilarly evreyday experiences that have enriched us, and I guess we end up reflecting on the title that what did they do to us?
    Yep, this one resonated with me.

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    9 person did not like.
3,8 out of 5
43 total ratings
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Read poems about / on: america, water, light