Tandem Regina Mortua (At Last, the Queen Died)
The frothy surf of media guff is slowly ebbing
on its receding tide of feigned sincerity
leaving a beached society exposed by
the shallow waves of sentimentality.
She looked like a little porcelain statue
in the end, shiny and polished and strained,
the mouth stretched in a painful smile,
her face, pleated with lines, quite drained.
A little old lady lost on a lonely island,
on her own stubborn fortitude stranded,
propped up by custom and empty convention,
performing the rituals her people demanded.
They should have let her go long before this
and when her old man died bade her good night,
let her sleep in and calmly avoid those daylight duties.
If she was a boxer, they’d have stopped the fight.
But it was her whole life, wasn’t it, to persist
in the public performance of outmoded gestures,
couldn’t stop in the end propped up on a stick
mouthing tired words at pointless investitures.
So now she’s gone. Lying down one last time alone.
The expectations of the kingdom still loomed to torture her
but she has slipped away adrift on a cloud of exhaustion.
Elizabeth can finally rest. Tandem regina mortua.