An Evening with Simon Armitage

Yesterday we were lucky to join a packed audience at the Daffodil Hotel, in Grasmere, for an Evening with Simon Armitage.

What a truly memorable and enjoyable experience. Simon Armitage read from his many poetry collections, including some of my favourite Medieval poems which he has expertly translated. He told some wonderful stories in his gently humorous style, as well as allowing us to be the first audience to listen to his tribute, as Poet Laureate, to Queen Elizabeth II, entitled Floral Tribute.

Evening will come, however determined the late afternoon,
Limes and oaks in their last green flush, pearled in September mist.
I have conjured a lily to light these hours, a token of thanks,
Zones and auras of soft glare framing the brilliant globes.
A promise made and kept for life – that was your gift –
Because of which, here is a gift in return, glovewort to some,
Each shining bonnet guarded by stern lance-like leaves.
The country loaded its whole self into your slender hands,
Hands that can rest, now, relieved of a century’s weight.

Evening has come. Rain on the black lochs and dark Munros.
Lily of the Valley, a namesake almost, a favourite flower
Interlaced with your famous bouquets, the restrained
Zeal and forceful grace of its lanterns, each inflorescence
A silent bell disguising a singular voice. A blurred new day
Breaks uncrowned on remote peaks and public parks, and
Everything turns on these luminous petals and deep roots,
This lily that thrives between spire and tree, whose brightness
Holds and glows beyond the life and border of its bloom.

We wandered down to the lake behind the Hotel and enjoyed the sights and smells of early Autumn. It felt like the perfect way to mark the passing of the Queen, a truly remarkable woman, and an occasion that will stay with us forever.