From Out of the Blue Analysis by Simon Armitage

In this article, we are going to analysis the poem From Out of the Blue by Simon Armitage.

The poem imagines the last desperate moments of a victim of the attack on the Twin Towers in 2001.

Form:

It is an extract from a longer poem.

Longer lines resemble skyscrapers when viewed horizontally.

Four line stanzas but not uniform in length or rhythmic structure show that the speaker is trying to remain calm but is unable to do so throughout.

Language:

You have picked me outTwirling, turning
Launching, leaving
Bullying, appalling,
spiralling, falling

  • Use of first and second person pronouns
  • Repetition and pairing of words
  • Double consonants

Pronouns make the poem immediate. There is a connection between the reader and the voice of the poem and, therefore, the victims of the attacks.

Repetition of words shows the desperation of the voice of the poem.

The pairing of words and double consonants, particularly the II, evokes an image of the Twin Towers

Imagery:

White cotton shirt
Waving, wavingMan shaking crumbsThe heat behind me is bullyingA bird goes by

  • Shirt resembles a flag of surrender
  • Alliteration of w
  • innocuous and mundane image
  • Heat is personified

The white shirt shows how the speaker in the poem is giving up and surrendering to the attack.

The alliteration of the letter w could represent a person waving with both hands.

The image of shaking crumbs or hanging out washing contrasts with the seriousness of the situation. The attacks were extraordinary and 'out of the blue’ and were in no way mundane.

Heat is personified as a threat to the speaker who is being pushed back by approaching the fire.

The bird is juxtaposed with the speaker’s lack of freedom and choice.

Rhythm/Rhyme:

Written in four-lined stanzas but has no consistent rhythmic pattern or rhyme scheme.

This shows how the speaker is trying to maintain a sense of order and calm but they are ’flagging’ in their desperation and gradually giving up.

Tone:

The speaker is searching for hope through their questions. ’Soul’ and ’saving’ reference the ’Save Our Souls’ (SOS) distress call.

from-out-of-blue-analysis


The poem culminates in the speaker giving up and jumping to their death; ’flagging’ suggests that they are growing tired or weaker but also reinforces the image of the white flag of surrender. There is a sense of inevitability and, as a result of this, there is little sense of hope. Arguably, Armitage feels that post-9/11 was a time of despair.
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