I AM VERY BOTHERED – by Simon Armitage

Simon Armitage was born in Marsden, West Yorkshire. Armitage first studied at Colne Valley High School, Linthwaite, Huddersfield and went on to study geography at Portsmouth Polytechnic. He was a post-graduate student at Manchester University where his MA thesis concerned the effects of television violence on young offenders. Until 1994 he worked as Probation Officer in Greater Manchester.

I AM VERY BOTHERED

I am very bothered when I think
of the bad things I have done in my life.
Not least that time in the chemistry lab
when I held a pair of scissors by the blades
and played the handles
in the naked lilac flame of the Bunsen burner;
then called your name, and handed them over.

O the unrivalled stench of branded skin
as you slipped your thumb and middle finger in,
then couldn’t shake off the two burning rings. Marked,
the doctor said, for eternity.

Don’t believe me, please, if I say
that was just my butterfingered way, at thirteen,
of asking you if you would marry me.

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