It Ain't What You Do, It's What It Does To You Poem by Simon Armitage

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

Rating: 3.8


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.

It Ain't What You Do, It's What It Does To You
COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Fari Bradley 25 May 2004

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.

22 9 Reply
Keith Spencer 11 May 2019

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

0 6 Reply
Nota Retard 02 August 2021

Count the syllables in each line, then learn to read poetry.

0 0 Reply
tom billsborough 16 May 2019

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.

3 3 Reply
Lyn Cramer 28 May 2018

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.

4 0 Reply
Dr Antony Theodore 17 December 2020

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. a fine poem. tony

1 0 Reply
Wesley D. Willis 20 July 2020

I enjoyed this poem, and the one before.

0 0 Reply
Mahtab Bangalee 30 June 2020

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

0 0 Reply
Keith Brown 06 May 2020

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

1 0 Reply
Dr Antony Theodore 17 April 2020

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

2 0 Reply
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Simon Armitage

Simon Armitage

Marsden, West Yorkshire
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