Two of Simon Armitage's poems, 'Poem' and 'About His Person' are written about someone who has, for unspecified reasons, passed away or gone. One is in the style of a eulogy and looks back on the life of its persona, presenting contrasting views of it, while the other examines the articles found on a man after his death. Both give the readers some impression of the personas, but are somewhat ambiguous, inviting us to form our own mental pictures of the people and judge them for ourselves.
The man in 'Poem' seems to have a split personality. Each of the first three stanzas is made up of four lines - the first three dealing with good things he did and the fourth mentioning a drawback, something bad. For example the third and fourth lines of the first stanza read,
'And he always tucked his daughter up at night And slippered her the one time that she lied.'
Although there are more good than bad things mentioned, the bad is cleverly positioned at the end of the line and this seems to make it overshadow and even cancel out all of the positive actions mentioned. In the context of a eulogy the three positive lines could be what is being said with the last line representing the thoughts of those present at the funeral.
Simon Armitage does not conclude on the life of this man, but finishes the poem with:
'Here's how they rated him when they lookef back; Sometimes he did this, sometimes he did that.'
This lack of conclusion and the continual juxtaposition of contrasting views of the man's life do not form a judgement of him, but ask us, the readers, how it is possible to judge someone when he or she...