external image 821642.jpg
From The Book of Matches (1993), Simon Armitage
My father thought it bloody queer,
the day I rolled home with a ring of silver in my ear
half hidden by a mop of hair. "You’ve lost your head.
If that’s how easily you’re led
you should’ve had it through your nose instead."
And even then I hadn’t had the nerve to numb
the lobe with ice, then drive a needle through the skin,
then wear a safety-pin. It took a jeweller’s gun
to pierce the flesh, and then a friend
to thread the sleeper in, and where it slept
the hole became a sore, became a wound, and wept.
At twenty-nine, it comes as no surprise to hear
my own voice breaking like a tear, released like water,
cried from way back in the spiral of the ear. If I were you,
I’d take it out and leave it out next year.