I remember, Ma’am, a frosty morning
When I was five years old and brought ill news,
Marching solemnly upstairs with the paper
Like an angel of doom; knocked gently.
“Father, the Times has a black border. Look!
The Queen is dead.”
Then I grew scared
When big tears started, ran down both his cheeks
To hang glistening in the red—grey beard—
A sight I had never seen before.
My mother thought to comfort him, leaned closer,
Whispering softly: “It was a ripe old age. . . .
She saw her century out.” The tears still flowed,
He could not find his voice. My mother ventured:
“We have a King once more, a real King.
'God Save the King’ is in the Holy Bible.
Our Queen was, after all, only a woman.”
At that my father’s grief burst hoarsely out.
“Only a woman! You say it to my face?
Queen Victoria only a woman! What?
Was the orb nothing? Was the sceptre nothing?
To cry 'God Save the King’ is honourable,
But to serve a Queen is lovely. Listen now:
Could I have one wish for this son of mine . . .”
A wish fulfilled at last after long years.
Think well, Ma’am, of your great—great—grandmother
Who earned love, who bequethed love to her sons,
Yet left one crown in trust for you alone.