Armitage uses a number of techniques to explore the theme of experiences, but the main way he does it is through language. He also explores the themes of abuse and relationships in the two poems. “I am very bothered” and “Poem”.
In “I am very bothered” the speaker is thinking back on all the bad things he has done in his life and one thing in particular was bothering him.
“I am very bothered when I think
Of all the bad things I have done in my life”.
This extract is showing that the speaker uses the word “bothered” which suggests that it is just something that is on his mind but he does not consider it as a big deal. He is aware that he committed a bad doing but still this does not seem to affect him in any way.
Later on in the poem the speaker talks about being in a science lab where the incident that he was bothered about took place.
“When I held a pair of scissors by the blades
And played the handles
In the naked lilac flame of the Bunsen burner.”
This quotation is showing that the speaker is intending to do something very bad with the scissors. Also he describes his actions in such a way that it sounds like he is enjoying what he is doing and getting pleasure out of it. He describes the flame from the Bunsen burner as being “naked lilac” this shows that he was analysing the flame and describing it as a beautiful colour which normal people would not refer to a flame.
“O the unrivalled stench of branded skin
As you slipped your thumb and middle finger in”.
From the words that the speaker uses in this poem nothing else in the world will be able to compare to this hideous prank he just played.
He uses the word “unrivalled” in the poem this shows that through this he is getting his ecstasy from the smell of burning skin. Also from this quotation the speaker is trying to say that he has branded this girl for life to show that she will always be his. This is also de-humanising because it is only animals that are branded with hot metal poles. Therefore it shows that he is making the girl look as low as an animal. Just this one phrase or quotation could make him be considered as a psychopath or an extremely dangerous person.
“Don’t believe me, please, if I say
That was just my butterfingered way, at thirteen,
Of asking you if you would marry me.”
This shows that he is a very immature little child who is playing a trick on a girl and uses a lame excuse of saying that was his way of asking her if she would marry him. But obviously he is not telling the
Girl that he wants to marry her he first say “don’t believe me, please”
So this shows that he was directly lying but concealing it in a very clever way.
However in “Poem” Armitage explores the same theme of violence but in a more domesticated environment. He is talking in this poem about violence or abuse in the home, behind closed doors. This poem is different because there is not a speaker in the poem. The poem is read in a list by an outside narrator. I say the poem is written and read as a list because of the repetition of “and” at the beginning of every sentence. It’s almost as if the person that the narrator is talking about in the poem is dead and the narrator is describing his life to the audience.
“And always tucked his daughter up at night
And slippered her the one time she lied.”
This quotation is implicating that the man was a father and a good one nothing can be said to prove him to be a bad father. It shows that the man was a very strict father. I say this because he slippered his daughter just for lying.
“And praised his wife for every meal she made.
And once for laughing punched her in the face.”
This quotation is very effective because it shows how unpredictable this woman’s husband is. It shows that the man at one moment in time can be so nice and praises his wife for everything she does, and the next minute he just switches and for the most normal thing like laughing he punches her in the face. This shoes that this woman’s husband has serious personality problems.
“And he blubbed when she went from bad to worse
And twice he lifted ten pounds from her purse.”
From this we understand that his mum was ill and he started crying this could be considered as normal but he did not just start crying he was “blubbing” this is very childish so he can go from a man to child.
Also the next line shows that he thieved money from his mother even though she was that ill. This also shows that he has no feelings for others around him.
In conclusion these two poems explore the same themes.