Armed to the teeth: Vive la Revolution

I am intending to avoid politicising this week’s tragedy. So I will just say this; I have long believed in the power of youth and I will continue to champion the voice of the ‘uneducated’, the ‘naive’, the ‘inexperienced’, the ‘immature’, the ‘childish’ and the youth, until it is the last thing I do on this planet.

Some of the strongest, brightest, most wonderful people I have met challenge the status quo every day and I am so proud to have seen them taking down the man.

They’re not just our tomorrow, they are our today, and I ask anyone to defy me and say otherwise. Because I will call BS.

It feels appropriate to share a poem that has stuck with me since I first heard it; Generation Columbine’s eyes are open. Wider than most. Wide enough to see.



Meanwhile, somewhere in the state of Colorado, armed to the teeth

with thousands of flowers,

two boys entered the front door of their own high school

and for almost four hours

gave floral tributes to fellow students and members of staff,

beginning with red roses

strewn amongst unsuspecting pupils during their lunch hour,

followed by posies

of peace lilies and wild orchids. Most thought the whole show

was one elaborate hoax

using silk replicas of the real thing, plastic imitations,

exquisite practical jokes,

but the flowers were no more fake than you or I,

and were handed out

as compliments returned, favours repaid, in good faith,

straight from the heart.

No would not be taken for a answer. Therefore a daffodil

was tucked behind the ear

of a boy in a baseball hat, and marigolds and peonies

threaded through the hair

of those caught on the stairs or spotted along corridors,

until every pupil

who looked up from behind a desk could expect to be met

with at least a petal

or a dusting of pollen, if not an entire daisy-chain,

or the colour-burst

of a dozen foxgloves, flowering for all their worth,

or a buttonhole to the breast.

Upstairs in the school library, individuals were singled out

for special attention:

some were showered with blossom, others wore their blooms

like brooches or medallions;

even those who turned their backs or refused point-blank

to accept such honours

were decorated with buds, unseasonable fruits and rosettes

the same as the others.

By which time a crowd had gathered outside the school,

drawn through suburbia

by the rumour of flowers in full bloom, drawn through the air

like butterflies to buddleia,

like honey bees to honeysuckle, like hummingbirds

dipping their tongues in,

some to soak up such over-exuberance of thought, others

to savour the goings-on.

Finally, overcome by their own munificence or hay fever

the boys pinned

the last blooms on themselves, somewhat selfishly perhaps,

but had also planned

further surprises for those who swept through the aftermath

of broom and buttercup:

garlands and bouquets were planted in lockers and cupboards

timed to erupt

like the first day of spring in the arms of those

who, during the first bout,

either by fate or chance had somehow been overlooked

and missed out.

Experts are now trying to say how two apparently quiet kids

from an apple-pie town

could get their hands on a veritable rain-forest of plants

and bring down

a whole botanical digest of one species or another onto the hands

of classmates and teachers,

and where such fascination began, and why it should lead

to an outpouring of this nature.

And even though many believe that flowers should be kept

in expert hands

only, or left to specialists in the field such as florists,

the law of the land

dictates that God, guts and gardening made the country

what it is today

and for as long as the flower industry can see to it

things are staying that way.

What they reckon is this: deny a person the right to carry

flowers of his own

and he’s liable to wind up on the business end of a flower

somebody else has grown.

As for the two boys, it’s back to the same old debate:

is it something in the mind

that grows from birth, like a seed, or is it society

makes a person that kind?

~ Killing Time – Simon Armitage


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s