was last year honoured with a CBE for his services to poetry,
had previously praised Weller's song, Thick as Thieves (Setting
Sons), for its "terrific standard of writing", adding
that it captured the fact "that you have to leave your past
behind if you want to learn and develop and grow as a person."
He also recently penned The Beacon, in honour of the Madeleine McCann Campaign.
Armitage said the poem drew on the imagery of the photograph of
Madeleine in missing posters around the world as well as the
candle her parents keep burning in a lantern in their local village
The poet reportedly said he accepted the commission, which came via
Emma Loach, a director who worked with the McCanns on a
Mrs Loach is a friend of Mr Armitage, after he met the McCanns
at their home in Rothley, Leicestershire.
"We talked about the night Madeleine went missing, those terrible
hours of darkness before they could resume the search," he
The McCanns said of the poem: "We think it is an
incredible and really beautiful sonnet.
"It manages to convey so accurately and succinctly both our darker
moments and the reality of hope and possibility, as well as
including powerful and touching references to Madeleine."
Dusk, doubt, the growing depth of an evening sky,
dark setting in as it did that night,
the forever vastness of outer space
reflecting the emptiness here inside,
shadowing, colouring, clouding the mind.
But somewhere out there there has to be life,
the distance only a matter of time,
a world like our own, its markings and shades
as uniquely formed as a daughter"s eye,
distinctly flecked, undeniably hers,
looking back this way through the miles and years
to a lantern cupping a golden blaze,
its candle alive with a fierce blonde flame
for the thousandth time, for as long as it takes.
Armitage has received numerous awards for his poetry
including the Sunday Times Author of the Year, one of the first
Forward Prizes and a Lannan Award.
He writes for radio, television and film, and is the author
of four stage plays, including Mister Heracles, a version of the
Euripides play The Madness of Heracles.
He received an Ivor Novello Award for his song-lyrics in the
Channel 4 film Feltham Sings, which also won a BAFTA.
Armitage joins Gillian Clarke, Carol Ann
Duffy, John Agard, Imtiaz Dharker, Grace Nichols and Owen Sheers at
Brighton Dome on Tuesday 1st February for GCSE Poetry Live .. a rare
opportunity for students to see and hear live performances from some
of the UK's leading poets.
For more information visit www.brightondome.org
by: Mike Cobley