There's a youtube sensation going on in England. Her name is Stacey Reay and she teaches Poetry. Her channel is a must watch if you have children in school and even if you just want to understand a poem more thoroughly. Visit her channel:
Stacey and I will be discussing a poem she chose, "The Manhunt" by Simon Armitage. We dive into the story of a woman who is trying to find the man she loves. He is right before her, but she can't find him. We talk about PTSD and our modern era in warfare, and we talk about both war poetry and love poetry.
Most importantly, we converse with this verse by Armitage. Stacey provides a great break down of the poem and squeezes as much meaning as possible from it. You won't be disappointed!
By Simon Armitage:
After the first phase,
after passionate nights and intimate days,
only then would he let me trace
the frozen river which ran through his face,
only then would he let me explore
the blown hinge of his lower jaw,
and handle and hold
the damaged, porcelain collar-bone,
and mind and attend the fractured rudder of shoulder-blade,
and finger and thumb the parachute silk of his punctured lung.
Only then could I bind the struts
and climb the rungs of his broken ribs,
and feel the hurt
of his grazed heart.
only then could I picture the scan,
the foetus of metal beneath his chest
where the bullet had finally come to rest.
Then I widened the search,
traced the scarring back to its source
to a sweating, unexploded mine
buried deep in his mind,
around which every nerve in his body had tightened and closed.
Then, and only then, did I come close.