Mother Any Distance Simon Armitage Essay Help

Simon Armitage

Mother any distance

On the surface it is about the character moving away from home, however deeper it is about the breaking of emotional as well as physical bonds.

15 lines approximately the length and form of a sonnet. Sonnets are stereotypically love poems. Armitage may have selected to use a sonnet to provide an immediate representation of love, in this case love of his mother.

The tape measure could symbolise the umbilical cord, the greatest physical bond between mother and child. It could also suggest the emotional distance he is know from her. She is the anchor and he is the kite trying to escape. Images in the poem suggest great distance, “aches, prairies”, physical as well as emotional. However, the character still has a long way to go. The tape is stretched “to breaking-point”, something or someone has to give.

My father thought it

Conflict between parents and children, in particular how parents and children often do not understand each other, however, as the poem expresses as he gets older they too begin to conform.

15 lines, external/end-rhyme occurs throughout the poem, alliteration occurs frequently. Helps to provide pace, making the poem more memorable.

Poem opens with ‘bad’ language “thought it bloody queer” which creates the impression of a male-traditionalist. The word “queer” could be interpreted by the audience in the sense of strange, or gay. In the poem we are told that the ear became infected and wept pus from the infection. This could be interpreted as a metaphor by the audience as the reaction of the boy to his father’s opinion. The word “wept” complements the idea of breaking “like a tear”, the child may actually be upset, despite his rebellion. This could also be interpreted metaphorically as the breaking of the boy’s voice as he becomes a man. The line “you should have had it through your nose instead” could suggest that the father feels he should have had a piercing through the centre of his nose like a cow, because he is easily led.



The poem asks the reader to see how two things are connected, the first is trust and the second a jacket which could be a metaphor for the parent child relationship and the protection it provides. The poet shows how even the “model of a model mother” can let down their children, yet this does not mean that they love them any less.

The poem is written using an iambic pentameter. There are also occasional rhymes which add to the flow. The effect of this is to give the poem a somewhat mature tone.
Language - There is some action within the poem, for example “Temper, temper” and parents' command: “Bed.” could have been used by the poet to suggest violence, in particular “blue murder”. The use of colour also helps to provide an interpretation of the emotional depth. In the future the father may be trying to make things right, which proves successful because the same canary-yellow jacket still fits.



Armitage deals with taking a elderly relative to the hospital to die. We all know that we will eventually die but we choose to think of other things when “the sun spangles”. Other images in the poem may have been selected by the poet to add to the depressing tone, for example they parked the car badly.

6 stanzas, 5x3 lined stanzas and a final concluding couplet. There are occasional rhymes and a final rhyming couplet.

The two men find the experience “shattering” partially because of the emotional termoul it induces. They too relise that one day they will become these “monsters”, a repelling thought. The poems name “November” is also the month where winter has begun and the year draws to a close reflected in their grandma who is about to die. There are images related to time, “It is time John”, could suggest they feel it is time to leave Grandma behind, they drive through “the twilight zone”. The final line of the poem is ambiguous, “One thing we have to get, John, out of this life” the punctuation appears to suggest that we all have to get out of life-to leave it and die. However, it could also mean we have to enjoy life while we still can.




This poem centralises around Batman and robin and what would happen when Robin grows-up whilst Batman grows old. In this poem Armitage describes how Robin has broken free from Batman’s shadow and is successful on his own. Robin reveals the hero’s weaknesses.

24 rhymed lines. These rhyming words ending in -er run throughout the poem. The lines consist of ten syllables using a rhythm opposite to an iambic pentameter. The rhythm is rushed through the use of enjambment and rhyme, which provides humour, making the poem more memorable and emphasising the final words of each line.

Robin the side-kick has broken loose, he is now “taller, sharper, harder”. While Batman is struggling to look after himself. Armitage could be saying that even the greatest of superheroes have faults, that nobody’s perfect. The poem also makes reference to other works of literature – a newspaper in the form of headlines: “Holy robin-redbreast-nest-egg-shocker” and Robin Hood “Sherwood-Forest”. The use of Batman is also very effective because many in the audience will have watched the Batman cartoons or read the comics as a child, reflected in the poems title: ‘kid’. The poem suggests that we all must grow-up.



There is a sharp contrast between two characters in the poem. The speaker, a violent individual, contrasts with the ‘hippy’ hitchhiker. The poem also makes reference to elements of pop culture “The truth/he said, was blowin’ in the wind”- a line from a Bob Dylan song. This reference helps to make the poem more memorable. The poem centralises on the theme of mindless, uncontrollable violence.

5x5 lined stanzas. Rhyme and half-rhyme occur regularly throughout the poem. Mixture of short and long lines in the poem and the use of enjambment adds to a conversational tone.

The man’s causal violence is emphasised by his language and the conversational style of the poem. The man has been “under the weather” he “let him have it”. The character also seems to be proud of what he has done; he describes how he “didn’t even serve”. This has a disturbing effect on the audience and further moves the man’s violence into the recesses of instability.


Mother Any Distance by Simon Armitage

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Mother Any Distance by Simon Armitage

This poem is written by Simon Armitage in which he talks about the
relationship between him and his mother and the great affect she had
on his life. "you come to help me measure windows, pelmets, doors…".
This shows that his mother helped him a lot whenever he needed someone
to help him. The quote also shows us that he's moving into a new house
because you would usually need to carry out these measurements when
moving in, but even after he will be moving into a new house and away
from her security, she is still there for him. This emphasizes that
they have a strong and healthy relationship. He also talks about how
he feels as he is moving further away from him mother. "…unreeling
years between us.". he shows that he still feels attached to her even
though he is moving away but at the same time he claims that he feels
free and has to have his own responsibility.

Now that he is moving houses, he feels a very big space between his
mother and himself. "..prairies of the floors…". This shows that he is
venturing a long distance without her, which conveys the idea that he
is growing up and he is carrying responsibility over himself.
"…unreeling years between us…" shows that he is still attached to her
although he is moving away. This shows that what she has taught him in
life will always be a part of him, and that there is a very strong
connection between them ever since childhood. "Anchor. Kite" Each word
in this phrase are metaphors. The kite represents Armitage's freedom
and the anchor represents his mother's security. He used this phrase
to show that although he wants freedom, he also wants the security of
his mother. The two contrasting words also emphasize that his life
will change a lot when he leaves his mother. Moving away will have a
big effect on him.

The metaphor of freedom starts in the second verse on the third line.

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"Mother Any Distance by Simon Armitage." 10 Mar 2018

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"…the line still feeding out…". It clearly talks about his mother
leaving him. The distance between them is physical and metaphorical.
Armitage said that moving away from his mother is frightening.
"space-walk". He already has his freedom now and the word 'space'
shows that he's not anchored down by his mother anymore.

Armitage makes the use of many structural techniques to convey the
feelings he has towards his mother. He uses a list to emphasize how
much she helps him in his life. "…windows, pelmets, doors…". It shows
that no matter what he does and where he goes, she will always be with
him to help him and guide him through life. In verse 2, Armitage
chooses not to rhyme. He does this to put stress on the extended
metaphor of the kite, which represents his freedom.

As in verse 2 when Armitage didn’t rhyme at the end of the verse, he
changes the whole structure of the poem in verse 3. he did this to
emphasize that he has his freedom and no one is in charge of him
anymore. Moving away from the structure emphasizes his moving away
from his mother. he is getting away with not following the structural
rule of rhyming, which emphasizes that now no one is in control of him
and no one can tell him what to do. he is bending the rules to his
desires, which also shows that now he can do things his way, and at
the same time it shows that he still needs the responsibility of his


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