Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
  2. Poetry & Stories
24 December 2016updated 09 Sep 2021 2:52pm

The NS Poem: Gravity

A new poem by Simon Armitage.

By Simon Armitage

October on Earth
      and distinctly autumnal,
the goldfish bowl
           of the sixth-form common room,
an hour’s lull
           in the space-time continuum

between double physics
           and English literature,
a radio oozing
           uninsistently
with American soft-rock
           and easy listening,

a blurred ruckus
           of alpha males
working line-out drills
           and rolling mauls
with a Hallowe’en pumpkin,
           meeker souls

in tight constellations,
           some brown-nosing
through Isaac Newton
           or Robert Browning,
some Rubik’s-cubing
           or grooming and braiding,

some lost in the coma
           of late revision.
As Fleetwood Mac’s “Sara”
           looped the horizon
(the six-minute-plus
           album version)

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • 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 New Statesman Media Group 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

the school trickster
           and first-choice scrum-half
plunged the volume slider
           from seven to nought
on the cusp of the line:
           “You’re the poet in my heart”.

And the airspace that followed
           was instantly baubled
with orbs and globes
           from the mouths of angels
and an outed choirboy’s
           helium bubbles,
till the heavens ballooned
           with unworldly apples.

Content from our partners
What are the green skills of the future?
A global hub for content producers, gaming and entertainment companies in Abu Dhabi
Insurance: finding sustainable growth in stormy markets

Simon Armitage is Professor of Poetry at Oxford. His latest book, a translation of Pearl, is published by Faber & Faber.

This article appears in the 13 Dec 2016 issue of the New Statesman, Christmas and New Year special 2016