New Times,
New Thinking.

  1. Culture
  2. Poetry
1 April 2020

The Manor

A new poem by Simon Armitage.

By Simon Armitage

What a prize prick he’s made of himself,
trudging a dozen furlongs across the plain

to the widowed heiress’s country estate
just to be turned away at the lodge, to stare

from the wrong side of the locked gates.
The plan – admit it – was to worm his way in:

to start as a lowly gofer and drudge, then rise
from gardener to footman to keeper of hawks –

her hooded merlin steady on his wrist –
to suddenly making his way upstairs after dark,

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

now soaping her breasts in the roll-top bath
with its clawed gold feet, now laying a trail

of soft fruit from her pillow to his, his tongue
now coaxing the shy nasturtium flower of love.

Here he is in the dream, gilt-framed, a gent
in her late husband’s best brown suit,

the loyal schnauzer gazing up at his eyes.
And here’s the true him tramping the verge,

frayed collar and cuffs, brambles for hair,
the toes of his boots mouthing like grounded fish.

A pride of lions roams the walled parkland
between this dogsbody life and the next.

Simon Armitage is the poet laureate. This poem is included in Lives of Houses edited by Kate Kennedy and Hermione Lee, newly published by Princeton University Press. 

Content from our partners
An innovative approach to regional equity
ADHD in the criminal justice system: a case for change – with Takeda
The power of place in tackling climate change

This article appears in the 24 Mar 2021 issue of the New Statesman, Spring special 2021