Saturday, 7 May 2011

Considering Kid by Simon Armitage


Batman, big shot, when you gave the order
to grow up, then let me loose to wander
leeward, freely through the wild blue yonder
as you liked to say, or ditched me, rather,
in the gutter ... well, I turned the corner.
Now I've scotched that 'he was like a father
to me' rumour, sacked it, blown the cover
on that 'he was like an elder brother'
story, let the cat out on that caper
with the married woman, how you took her
downtown on expenses in the motor.
Holy robin-redbreast-nest-egg-shocker!
Holy roll-me-over-in the-clover,
I'm not playing ball boy any longer
Batman, now I've doffed that off-the-shoulder
Sherwood-Forest-green and scarlet number
for a pair of jeans and crew-neck jumper;
now I'm taller, harder, stronger, older.
Batman, it makes a marvellous picture:
you without a shadow, stewing over
chicken giblets in the pressure cooker,
next to nothing in the walk-in larder
punching the palm of your hand all winter,
you baby, now I'm the real boy wonder.

Why do you think the poem is called ‘Kid’?

Which words and phrases reveal the anger, resentment and bitterness of the speaker?


  1. I have several theories behind the naming of the poem.
    The first is that whithin the older batman movies - the ones in which batman was adorned and respected and also viewed upon as a hero for the nation. These early batmans were made famous due to the wide audience they enticed; but mainly a younger audience. Whereas the newer batman movies depict the batman as a villain who is self-rightoues and does wrong things for the greater good - the lesser of two evils theory.

    Thus meaning that anyone who respects batman in this day and age, is still a kid living in the 70s - mentaly.

    The second theory: it could just be that the narrator intended for the batman to realise that he is just a great big kid that likes playing with baddies and with toys. And that doesn't want to grow up and live in a world of morgages and paying rents - the neverneverland cosplay theory!

    The third theory ties in with the first one. I think that Armitage also saw the pattern of the way the batmans keep on getting more and more secluded from the world as time goes by. And yet we hear nothing of robin and his 'green and scarlet number'. This could simply symbolies the fact that robin is no longer a little kid that wants to impress his mate - batman - by playing side-kick delinquent. The KB theory

  2. I'm going to post a rare response to this...

    Just for fun...

    Baltazar proposes that since the classic series of Batman we 'hear nothing of Robin and his 'green and scarlet number'. Has he forgotten, or more worrying still, never seen, the 1997 classic film Batman and Robin? Starring George Clooney in the lead and Chris O'Donnell as Robin the film is perhaps the most contentious of the Batman franchise films. Clooney, in my humble opinion, is the Cary Grant of my generation and along with Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, will go down as the greatest male actors to emerge from the 1990s. The film is perhaps most memorable for The Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger's hideous performance as Mr Freeze.

  3. Personally, I believe that the naming of this poem is a reference to the resentment Robin feels towards being considered only as Batman's younger sidekick. In this poem, we see Robin's attempt to show that he has gone on to develop into a more independent figure, no longer secondary to Batman. The speaker mentions that he has “scotched that 'he was like a father to me' rumour”, this phrase reveals the anger that Robin feels towards Batman, and he is mocking him in this part of the poem. The title ‘Kid’ stands for Robin’s former title, and appointing it as the title of the poem almost seems a bitter retort to this.

  4. I haven't forgotten that important point - I was merely focusing on the pre-and-post 2000 hera of batman frenchise. But taking the fact (rufur's comment) into account some may still argue that, that hadn't George Clooney's most memorable televised performance.

    Could that be because of robin's presence within the movie or simply because the focus of the narration was intensified upon Freeze's personal issues (as Freeze wasn't portrayed as the typical baddy-without-a-conscious character).

  5. I think the title of the poem is 'Kid' because it is a derogatory term that Robin was called by Batman. The title could have been chosen as a contrast to what Robin is now, to what he used to be. He has now grown up and is no longer 'a kid.' He feels he has matured enough to know he doesn't want to be the superhero anymore, and that is something that Batman has yet to do.

  6. First,a piece of serious analysis; The name 'Kid' is often used both with warmth and negativity within families as a permanent reminder to the youngest as to their inescapable position in the family; they will always be the kid. This is further reaffirmed by Robin's actions in which he gains maturity through the thoroughly immature means of tit for tat kiss and tell.

    Secondly, despite Clooney's tour de force reimagining of Bruce Wayne's world, lets not forget Adam West's definitive portrayal of the caped crusader's ultimate dilemma, 'Some days you just can't get rid of a bomb!'.Faced with disposing it on ducklings, a smooching couple, nuns or a brass band Balt's 'greater good' theory is tested to the full. Who would you sacrifice?

  7. Above comment by Patrick ... any problems with this save them 'till Thursday...

  8. I feel that the poem 'Kid' is a brilliant representation showing the ability for a once tight-knit relationship to change. In my opinion, the title of the poem 'Kid' pertains to the way the metaphorical Robin is treated by the metaphorical Batman. Robyn no longer wants to be treated as a 'kid'; he says it was just a 'rumour' that Batman 'was like an elder brother', and feels he is now 'stronger' than him.

    I get the impression Robyn feels unwanted; he feels he has been 'ditched' and feels inferior to Batman. There is a sense of resentment, as he no longer wants to be associated with Batman who perhaps under-estimated him and did not appreciate him enough; whilst he was having an affair with a 'married woman', Robyn had to take care of things, as suggested by the quotation: 'stewing over chicken giblets'- Batman has now learnt how important Robyn was for him. The poem has a universal theme of the difficulties in friendships.

  9. Then again, taking Kid's meaning within familial constructs, we could end up with a discussion on Robin's delusional nature.

    The first delusion being that he'd signed up thinking he'd be helping a role-model-hero (though instead ended up with the sidekick of a 'Holy robin-redbreast-nest-egg-shocker' batman). I could push it as far as to imply that Robin is also delusional about the closur/goodbye/letter/poem he's written for batman (supposing this poem is what Robin has written). My motive behind such suposition would be related tthe following two questions: Is it really possible for Robin to so easily forget his 'father-figure' whom he'd loved and respected so much? Would anyone trully turn their back on their one true family? and so can Robin ever trully grow up(as if he remains hooked on batman, then he's always be the kid figure)? Ironic ins't it?

    Secondly -(Disclaimer: 'greater good theory' was once stolen from Mr T Pope. I cannot be held responsible for its misuse) - having said that; 'smoching couple' all day long - some stuff should be kept at home or in a Rihanna/GaGa video.

  10. I think the title was written as 'KID' rather than 'child', because in american terms could be considered as a pun. The word could either mean a child, a fool, to tease or play pranks on. The word that suits the poem best is fool, simply because robin seemed to have felt like the inferior and left out hero compared to Batman during their adventures because he says that batman ' ditched me rather in the gutter'. A person who has been 'ditched' is always viewed as the dunce. Or rather , robin is insinuating that batman is now the fool because he is now the old 'baby' and robin is the 'real boy wander'.