Wednesday, May 14, 2014

In Praise of Air

By Simon Armitage

I write in praise of air. I was six or five

when a conjurer opened my knotted fist

and I held in my palm the whole of the sky.

I’ve carried it with me ever since.
Let air be a major god, its being

and touch, its breast-milk always tilted

to the lips. Both dragonfly and Boeing

dangle in its see-through nothingness…
Among the jumbled bric-a-brac I keep

a padlocked treasure-chest of empty space,

and on days when thoughts are fuddled with smog

or civilization crosses the street
with a white handkerchief over its mouth

and cars blow kisses to our lips from theirs

I turn the key, throw back the lid, breathe deep.

My first word, everyone’s first word, was air.

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