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Domestic Violence

November 25, 2012

Poem by Simon Armitage

When UK birth and death registries were properly linked a few years ago, it suddenly became clear that violence – suicide and partner killing – had become a leading causes of maternal death (click here). Absolute numbers are small, but it’s still a shocking statistic.

Simon Armitage’s understated lines around “punched her in the face”, also shock.  Poem is from his 1992 collection, Kid.


And if it snowed and snow covered the drive
He took a spade and tossed it to one side.
And always tucked his daughter up at night
And slippered her the one time that she lied.

And every week he tipped up half his wage.
And what he didn’t spend each week he saved.
And praised his wife for every meal she made.
And once, for laughing, punched her in the face.

And for his mum he hired a private nurse.
And every Sunday taxied her to church.
And he blubbed when she went from bad to worse.
And twice he lifted ten quid from her purse.

Here’s how they rated him when they looked back:
Sometimes he did this, sometimes he did that.

Simon Armitage

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