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Simon Armitage has published a poetry collection that pays tribute to the beauty of spring and its blossoms.
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Simon Armitage has published a poetry collection that pays tribute to the beauty of spring and its blossoms.

He envisions the blooming flowers to be like elegant costumes, akin to an artist or magician, bringing life to the land, villages, and urban areas. While it is a sight of delight and pleasure, it also serves as a significant reflection of shifting weather conditions.

To honor the arrival of spring and World Poetry Day, Simon Armitage, the poet laureate, has released a compilation that celebrates the vibrant blossom that flourishes across the UK during this season.

Armitage has collaborated with the National Trust to spend a year touring the country, exploring scenic gardens and secluded areas in the countryside, as well as busy parks, shopping areas, and urban centers to observe blossoms.

Reworded: The outcome is a collection of poetry and an EP titled “Blossomise” by LYR, which the artist aims to use as a source of inspiration for UK citizens to fully embrace this year’s spring season. The book includes illustrations from printmaker Angela Harding.

Armitage expressed that nature writing has been a part of poetry from its beginnings. He aimed for the poems to align with this tradition while also being relevant in the present by using simple language and addressing modern issues, particularly the effects of climate change. Blossom symbolizes the arrival of spring, but also serves as a fragile sign of unpredictable climatic patterns. Armitage strived to strike a balance between these themes in each individual poem and in the collection as a whole.

Armitage’s Blossomise poetry collection also inspired an EP released by his band, LYR.

“Display the image in fullscreen”

“Show the picture in full screen”

The poet originally planned to write 10 poems, but his imagination took over and he ended up with 11 haikus. The inclusion of blossom in Japanese culture and poetry added a sense of joy to the task, making it a “happy extension.”

Five of the pieces have been adapted into the songs for the Blossomise EP, which LYR worked on with community choirs and student film-makers. The poems and songs are to be performed at blossom sites from Plymouth to Newcastle upon Tyne, notionally following the advance of spring from south to north.

Armitage expressed that this project is perfectly timed to enhance the beauty of blooming flowers, motivate individuals across the nation to be inspired by nature’s strength, and celebrate the arrival of spring.

Armitage compares the blossoming trees in his poem The Spectators to fancy dressed individuals, using imagery such as candelabras, chandeliers, and even manic pierrots flinging sugary treats and cherry lips onto the streets.

The creative piece titled “Blossom: a CV” portrays Blossom as a street artist, a magician, a sculptor, and a ballet dancer. However, the urgent issue of climate change is also addressed as Blossom is described as a weather vane in the ever-changing seasons.

This is the fifth version of the National Trust’s campaign to celebrate blossoms, which gained attention during the initial Covid lockdown. According to the organization, this year’s blossom season arrived earlier than normal, but subsequent cold weather has caused it to revert back to its usual schedule.

Annie Reilly, the leader of the blossom initiative, expressed her desire for the Armitage project to motivate individuals to engage with the yearly uplifting event. She stated, “This could involve reading poetry surrounded by cherry blossom, listening to music amidst an orchard, taking in the fragrance of spring in gardens, attending a live performance, or simply enjoying the sea of pink and white petals wherever one may be.”

Information about the tour and the National Trust initiative can be found on this site.



We selected a poem.
out of a book,
scissored it off
is not None

If there are still words and letters remaining

still popped,
in this poem are unique,

Although the lines and stanzas in this poem are distinct,
curtsied and blushed.

We dried and pressed it
between the years,
between cherry leaves.
That makes no sense.
the baz could be

After repeatedly folding the object, the baz appeared as

I entered it into an empty space.

on a tree that bears stone fruits.

It was an old-style,
home-style poem.
Meaning what?
Meaning blossom as light,
blossom as hope

After the tunnel of winter,
following the slim obscurity.

The intention was to rekindle
the living flame

If the fire extinguished.

Surprisingly, in the month of April 2011.
the poem budded and bloomed
or laughed it

We either read it, recited it, or giggled at it.

I was familiar with it.


The situation improved once again.

However, it flourished anew.
in August

In July, and once more in August
in December, drunk
on meltwater, drugged
with the tepid milk

The sun during winter.
What did we do?

Excerpted from

Order your copy of Blossomise by Simon Armitage (Faber & Faber, £10) at guardianbookshop.com to support the Guardian and Observer. Additional fees may apply for delivery.

Source: theguardian.com