A poem for the Queen
Poet Paul Farley celebrates the Diamond Jubilee with a look at HM's life
We have a Queen. We’re living in a Queendom.
This country has its best times under Queens.
She brings out all the bunting and the courtiers,
the peaceful demo and the strange headgear.
She is a fifties Queen in black-and-white
moving through the Commonwealth in newsreel;
a sixties Queen with a sister in the Bahamas;
a seventies Queen with a safety pin through her nose;
an eighties Queen eclipsed by a princess; a
nineties Queen advised not to lose touch.
(And I have never known anything different.)
She runs the House of Windsor as ‘the Firm’.
If we work at it, the word ‘queen’ will abrade
to something strong and round and made of stone.
She does the regal wave from helicopters.
Her wrist orbit’s a well-worn ball and socket.
On aerial views she is a great authority.
The landfill and the scars, the motorways,
the shrunken hunting grounds, the sea drawn back
to reveal the tidal extent of her realm.
I couldn’t do it. Imagine waking up
in the blue silence of seven hundred rooms
in a palace in the middle of a city
and realising, Jesus, I’m the fucking Queen!
The Queen is taken from The Dark Film by Paul Farley (Picador)