Out of the Blue

In yesterday’s lesson we looked at Simon Armitage’s Extract from Out of the Blue.


The poem is narrated from the viewpoint of an English financial trader working in one of the towers. As Armitage said – the poem is a voice from beyond the grave. Armitage captures a sense of despair, horror and also insignificance through his language and structure.


  • The poem is similar to an elegy (a mournful or melancholic  poem, especially a funeral song).


  • The first person narrator speaks directly to the reader from the first line ‘You have picked me out’.
  • The use of the present continuous verbs  (waving, watching, driving, breathing) makes the account painfully immediate and adds a sense of inevitability. The man’s present moment will soon be over. It makes us feel helpless as the reader.
  • Armitage includes questions – the man is asking for help but also showing his confusion that he is not being rescued.


  • The poem has seven quatrains (4 line stanzas) – offering a sense of regularity. What could Armitage be suggesting?
  • In the first three stanzas the use of enjambment and questions create a conversational tone.
  • In the final four stanzas the voice sounds more urgent as the danger gets closer. The narrator’s tone becomes more desperate.
  • The final stanza uses end stopping. What could this suggest about the mood of the narrator?
  • There is no regular rhythm – what could Armitage be suggesting here?
  • There is a loose rhyme scheme. Each third line has the same number of syllables (except in the final stanza). In each stanza (except the last) the second and fourth lines end with a present continuous verbs and rhyme – buring/turning, waving/saving.

This poem could be compared to:

  • Poppies
  • Futility
  • Mametz Wood
  • Come on, Come Back
  • Belfast Confetti

Please attempt the homework question in the back of your book. Question 1 is an easier option as you have already attempted a question on  Futility. Question 2 is more challenging as I am asking you to compare the poem to Poppies. Use the SPECSLIMs sheet from the back of your book to help you.

Video: Simon Armitage talking about Out of the Blue

Miss O

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