A man strolls past the town hall wearing a sandwich-board for a coat, and it ain’t for the next closing-down sale, or the time of the next coach,

and it ain’t for the price of a fake tan or bringing the government down, or happy hour, or two-for-one, or the circus coming to town,

or a secret truth that God knows, or the end of the world being nigh, it says NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS but it don’t say why.

— Killing time ,Simon Armitage

The poem “Killing Time” takes an epic look at the events of the last 100 years. Published in 1999, the last few lines of the poem confront the reality of the Columbine shootings in a controversial way.
All of the nouns in the poem that have to do with weaponry are substituted with kinds of flowers.

Not the furniture game

by Simon Armitage

His hair was a crow fished out of a blocked chimney
and his eyes were boiled eggs with the tops hammered in
and his blink was a cat flap
and his teeth were bluestones or the Easter Island statues
and his bite was a perfect horseshoe.
His nostrils were both barrels of a shotgun, loaded.
And his mouth was an oil exploration project gone bankrupt
and his smile was a caesarean section
and his tongue was an iguanodon
and his whistle was a laser beam
and his laugh was a bad case of kennel cough.
He coughed, and it was malt whisky.
And his headaches were Arson in Her Majesty’s Dockyards
and his arguments were outboard motors strangled with fishing line
and his neck was a bandstand
and his Adam’s apple was a ball cock
and his arms were milk running off from a broken bottle.
His elbows were boomerangs or pinking shears.
And his wrists were ankles
and his handshakes were puff adders in the bran tub
and his fingers were astronauts found dead in their spacesuits
and the palms of his hands were action paintings
and both thumbs were blue touchpaper.
And his shadow was an opencast mine.
And his dog was a sentry box with no-one in it
and his heart was a first world war grenade discovered by children
and his nipples were timers for incendary devices
and his shoulder blades were two butchers at the meat cleaving competition
and his belly button was the Falkland Islands
and his private parts were the Bermuda triangle
and his backside was a priest hole
and his stretchmarks were the tide going out.
The whole system of his blood was Dutch elm disease.
And his legs were depth charges
and his knees were fossils waiting to be tapped open
and his ligaments were rifles wrapped in oilcloth under the floorboards
and his calves were the undercarriages of Shackletons.
The balls of his feet were where meteorites had landed
and his toes were a nest of mice under the lawn mower.
And his footprints were Vietnam
and his promises were hot air balloons floating off over the trees
and his one-liners were footballs through other peoples’ windows
and his grin was the Great Wall of China as seen from the moon
and the last time they talked, it was apartheid.

She was a chair, tipped over backwards
with his donkey jacket on her shoulders.

They told him,
and his face was a hole
where the ice had not been thick enough to hold her.

You’re Beautiful

By Simon Armitage

You’re Beautiful because you’re classically trained.
I’m ugly because I associate piano wire with strangulation.

You’re beautiful because you stop to read the cards in
   newsagents’ windows about lost cats and missing dogs.
I’m ugly because of what I did to that jellyfish with a lolly
   stick and a big stone.

You’re beautiful because for you, politeness is instinctive, not
   a marketing campaign.
I’m ugly because desperation is impossible to hide.

      Ugly like he is,
      Beautiful like hers,
      Beautiful like Venus,
      Ugly like his,
      Beautiful like she is,
      Ugly like Mars.

You’re beautiful because you believe in coincidence and the
   power of thought.
I’m ugly because I proved God to be a mathematical
   impossibility.

You’re beautiful because you prefer home-made soup to the
   packet stuff.
I’m ugly because once, at a dinner party, I defended the
   aristocracy and i wasn’t even drunk.

You’re beautiful because you can’t work the remote control.
I’m ugly because of satellite television and twenty-four-hour
   rolling news.

      Ugly like he is,
      Beautiful like hers,
      Beautiful like Venus,
      Ugly like his,
      Beautiful like she is,
      Ugly like Mars.

You’re beautiful because you cry at weddings as well as
   funerals.
I’m ugly because I think of children as another species from
   a different world.

You’re beautiful because you look great in any colour
   including red.
I’m ugly because I think shopping is strictly for the
   acquisition of material goods.

You’re beautiful because when you were born, undiscovered
   planets lined up to peep over the rim of your cradle and lay
   gifts of gravity and light at your miniature feet.
I’m ugly for saying “love at first sight” is another form of
   mistaken identity, and that the most human of all responses
   is to gloat.

      Ugly like he is,
      Beautiful like hers,
      Beautiful like Venus,
      Ugly like his,
      Beautiful like she is,
      Ugly like Mars.

You’re beautiful because you’ve never seen the inside of a
   car-wash.
I’m ugly because I always ask for a receipt.

You’re beautiful for sending a box of shoes to the third
   world.
I’m ugly because I remember the telephone numbers of
   ex-girlfriends and the year Schubert was born.

You’re beautiful because you sponsored a parrot in a zoo.
I’m ugly because when I sigh it’s like the slow collapse of a
   circus tent.

      Ugly like he is,
      Beautiful like hers,
      Beautiful like Venus,
      Ugly like his,
      Beautiful like she is,
      Ugly like Mars.

You’re beautiful because you can point at a man in a uniform
   and laugh.
I’m ugly because I was a police informer in a previous life.

You’re beautiful because you drink a litre of water and eat
   three pieces of fruit a day.
I’m ugly for taking the line that a meal without meat is a
   beautiful woman with one eye.

You’re beautiful because you don’t see love as a competition
   and you know how to lose.
I’m ugly because I kissed the FA Cup then held it up to the
   crowd.

You’re beautiful because of a single buttercup in the top
   buttonhole of your cardigan.
I’m ugly because I said the World’s Strongest Woman was a
   muscleman in a dress.

You’re beautiful because you couldn’t live in a lighthouse.
I’m ugly for making hand-shadows in front of the giant bulb,
   so when they look up, the captains of vessels in distress see
   the ears of a rabbit, or the eye of a fox, or the legs of a
   galloping black horse.

      Ugly like he is,
      Beautiful like hers,
      Beautiful like Venus,
      Ugly like his,
      Beautiful like she is,
      Ugly like Mars.

KID
Batman, big shot, when you gave the order to grow up, then let me loose to wander leeward, freely through the wild blue yonder as you liked to say, or ditched me, rather, in the gutter … well, I turned the corner. Now I’ve scotched that ‘he was like a father to me’ rumour, sacked it, blown the cover on that ‘he was like an elder brother’ story, let the cat out on that caper with the married woman, how you took her downtown on expenses in the motor. Holy robin-redbreast-nest-egg-shocker! Holy roll-me-over-in the-clover, I’m not playing ball boy any longer Batman, now I’ve doffed that off-the-shoulder Sherwood-Forest-green and scarlet number for a pair of jeans and crew-neck jumper; now I’m taller, harder, stronger, older. Batman, it makes a marvellous picture: you without a shadow, stewing over chicken giblets in the pressure cooker, next to nothing in the walk-in larder, punching the palm of your hand all winter, you baby, now I’m the real boy wonder.
by Simon Armitage #

KID

Batman, big shot, when you gave the order to grow up, then let me loose to wander leeward, freely through the wild blue yonder as you liked to say, or ditched me, rather, in the gutter … well, I turned the corner. Now I’ve scotched that ‘he was like a father to me’ rumour, sacked it, blown the cover on that ‘he was like an elder brother’ story, let the cat out on that caper with the married woman, how you took her downtown on expenses in the motor. Holy robin-redbreast-nest-egg-shocker! Holy roll-me-over-in the-clover, I’m not playing ball boy any longer Batman, now I’ve doffed that off-the-shoulder Sherwood-Forest-green and scarlet number for a pair of jeans and crew-neck jumper; now I’m taller, harder, stronger, older. Batman, it makes a marvellous picture: you without a shadow, stewing over chicken giblets in the pressure cooker, next to nothing in the walk-in larder, punching the palm of your hand all winter, you baby, now I’m the real boy wonder.

by Simon Armitage #

Not the Furniture Game by Simon Armitage

His hair was a crow fished out of a blocked chimney
and his eyes were boiled eggs with the tops hammered in
and his blink was a cat flap
and his teeth were bluestones or the Easter Island statues
and his bite was a perfect horseshoe.
His nostrils were both barrels of a shotgun, loaded.
And his mouth was an oil exploration project gone bankrupt
and his smile was a caesarean section
and his tongue was an iguanodon
and his whistle was a laser beam
and his laugh was a bad case of kennel cough.
He coughed, and it was malt whisky.
And his headaches were Arson in Her Majesty’s Dockyards
and his arguments were outboard motors strangled with fishing line
and his neck was a bandstand
and his Adam’s apple was a ball cock
and his arms were milk running off from a broken bottle.
His elbows were boomerangs or pinking shears.
And his wrists were ankles
and his handshakes were puff adders in the bran tub
and his fingers were astronauts found dead in their spacesuits
and the palms of his hands were action paintings
and both thumbs were blue touchpaper.
And his shadow was an opencast mine.
And his dog was a sentry box with no-one in it
and his heart was a first world war grenade discovered by children
and his nipples were timers for incendary devices
and his shoulder blades were two butchers at the meat cleaving competition
and his belly button was the Falkland Islands
and his private parts were the Bermuda triangle
and his backside was a priest hole
and his stretchmarks were the tide going out.
The whole system of his blood was Dutch elm disease.
And his legs were depth charges
and his knees were fossils waiting to be tapped open
and his ligaments were rifles wrapped in oilcloth under the floorboards
and his calves were the undercarriages of Shackletons.
The balls of his feet were where meteorites had landed
and his toes were a nest of mice under the lawn mower.
And his footprints were Vietnam
and his promises were hot air balloons floating off over the trees
and his one-liners were footballs through other peoples’ windows
and his grin was the Great Wall of China as seen from the moon
and the last time they talked, it was apartheid.

She was a chair, tipped over backwards
with his donkey jacket on her shoulders.

They told him,
and his face was a hole
where the ice had not been thick enough to hold her.