poet Simon Armitage

Simon Armitage

#44 on top 500 poets

The Tyre

Just how it came to rest where it rested,
miles out, miles from the last farmhouse even,
was a fair question. Dropped by hurricane
or aeroplane perhaps for some reason,
put down as a cairn or marker, then lost.
Tractor-size, six or seven feet across,
it was sloughed, unconscious, warm to the touch,
its gashed, rhinoceros, sea-lion skin
nursing a gallon of rain in its gut.
Lashed to the planet with grasses and roots,
it had to be cut. Stood up it was drunk
or slugged, wanted nothing more than to slump,
to spiral back to its circle of sleep,
dream another year in its nest of peat.
We bullied it over the moor, drove it,
pushed from the back or turned it from the side,
unspooling a thread in the shape and form
of its tread, in its length, and in its line,
rolled its weight through broken walls, felt the shock
when it met with stones, guided its sleepwalk
down to meadows, fields, onto level ground.
There and then we were one connected thing,
five of us, all hands steering a tall ship
or one hand fingering a coin or ring.

Once on the road it picked up pace, free-wheeled,
then moved up through the gears, and wouldn't give
to shoulder-charges, kicks; resisted force
until to tangle with it would have been
to test bone against engine or machine,
to be dragged in, broken, thrown out again
minus a limb. So we let the thing go,
leaning into the bends and corners,
balanced and centred, riding the camber,
carried away with its own momentum.
We pictured an incident up ahead:
life carved open, gardens in half, parted,
a man on a motorbike taken down,
a phone-box upended, children erased,
police and an ambulance in attendance,
scuff-marks and the smell of broken rubber,
the tyre itself embedded in a house
or lying in a gutter, playing dead.

But down in the village the tyre was gone,
and not just gone but unseen and unheard of,
not curled like a cat in the graveyard, not
cornered in the playground like a reptile,
or found and kept like a giant fossil.
Not there or anywhere. No trace. Thin air.

Being more in tune with the feel of things
than science and facts, we knew that the tyre
had travelled too fast for its size and mass,
and broken through some barrier of speed,
outrun the act of being driven, steered,
and at that moment gone beyond itself
towards some other sphere, and disappeared.

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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Comments about The Tyre by Simon Armitage

  • paul amrod (5/13/2020 6:09:00 PM)

    The general philosophy of this poem is for myself too existential. Although it has its merit.

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  • Dr Tony BrahminDr Tony Brahmin (5/13/2020 2:33:00 PM)

    Being more in tune with the feel of things
    than science and facts, we knew that the tyre
    had travelled too fast for its size and mass,
    and broken through some barrier of speed, . a great poem. tony

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  • Parameswaran Nair Damodaran Nair (5/13/2020 7:22:00 AM)

    Beautiful and thoughtful

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  • Kumarmani MahakulKumarmani Mahakul (5/13/2020 1:41:00 AM)

    You have so beautifully inscribed this poem. Thanks and congratulations for being chosen this poem as the modern poem of the poem of the day.

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  • Mahtab BangaleeMahtab Bangalee (1/14/2020 11:09:00 PM)

    he tyre itself embedded in a house
    or lying in a gutter, playing dead....///beautiful writing

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  • Lyn PaulLyn Paul (1/14/2020 4:08:00 PM)

    You have made the old tyre that we rely on each day look great.
    Thank you.

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  • Sylvia Frances ChanSylvia Frances Chan (1/14/2020 6:21:00 AM)

    I have enjoyed very much your excellent beautiful poem, but too much content and tools and toys for ONE Poem.
    You are an All Doer, but not so much time for the many things youn wish to do still. You are like my elder bro:
    A GENIUS. God's Blessings in Abundance, keep on writing more poems for Poem Hunter, more specific and clear.

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  • Sylvia Frances ChanSylvia Frances Chan (1/14/2020 6:12:00 AM)

    A basketful of imaginative word play and descriptive delights...born out of a vivid childhood memories, as well as poems and books, Simon loved to study many things included teaching creative writing at the University of Leeds. His poem as mentioned here is a noisy and busy being-doing, but very entertaining and heartwarming. CONGRATULATIONS being selected as The Modern Poem Of The Day. Hurray! A 10 Top score for this poem.

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  • Dominic WindramDominic Windram (11/10/2019 4:06:00 AM)

    Brimful of imaginative word play and descriptive delights...born out of a vivid childhood experience.

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  • Michael WalkerMichael Walker (11/10/2018 5:19:00 PM)

    Possibly too long, but well worth reading and thinking about.

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  • Ron Thorton (11/10/2018 1:03:00 PM)

    Great poem from a great poet.

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  • Edward Kofi LouisEdward Kofi Louis (11/10/2018 5:53:00 AM)

    To rest where it rested!

    Thanks for sharing this poem with us.

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  • Kumarmani MahakulKumarmani Mahakul (11/10/2018 5:27:00 AM)

    Well penned. Beautiful poem having touching expression.

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  • Deepak Kumar Pattanayak (11/10/2018 5:23:00 AM)

    One of the best poets' work can't be put down so lightly.....Simon....I love your composition heartily......10++++++++++++++

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  • Adrian FlettAdrian Flett (11/10/2018 3:24:00 AM)

    A mystic, mysterious tyre, spiralled away into a legend. Great.

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  • Bernard F. AsuncionBernard F. Asuncion (11/10/2018 12:43:00 AM)

    Such a great poem by Simon Armitage......................

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3,4 out of 5
33 total ratings
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