A reading of 'Remains' by the poet, Simon Armitage

The poem is told anecdotally and begins with ‘On another occasion’, implying that this account is not the only unpleasant account the soldier has in his memory. He tells how he and ‘somebody else and somebody else’ opened fire on a looter who may or may not have been armed. They shot him dead and one of them put the man’s ‘guts back into his body’ before he’s carted away.

Later the soldier thinks about the shooting every time he walks down the street. Then later again, when he returns home he is still haunted by the thought of what he has done. He tries drink and drugs to drown out the memory, but they do not work. The line ‘he’s here in my head when I close my eyes’ indicates this.

The final lines show that the memory was not left behind in the place of war in a distant land, but is with the speaker all the time. He feels as though he will always have blood on his hands.

Read the poem here.