The Catch

by Simon Armitage

the long, smouldering
afternoon. It is

this moment
when the ball scoots
off the edge

of the bat; upwards,
backwards, falling

beyond him
yet he reaches
and picks it

of its loop
an apple
from a branch,
the first of the season.

Meaning of the Poem

This might be described as a latter-day imagist poem, given its use of free verse, its focus on a single moment, its understated style, and its suggestion of something transcendent not fully revealed behind a very simple action and event (the catching of a cricket ball during a match). Part of its success lies in the suggestiveness of the word "season", which looks beyond sport into the world of nature, suggesting another kind of catch (fish, or perhaps the harvesting of fruit?).

2012, Winning Words: Inspiring Poems for Evereyday Life (Faber & Faber)

Last updated May 12, 2019