September 8th 2022.
Truss reads her Wikipedia entry on The Queen, on the news, and does so,
Badly, as Huw Edwards extemporises while expelling suitably sombre tones
To fill air that will now be as dead as the very idea of England
Which Elizabeth represented, with her sense of duty duly observed,
Like a dare. For how long can one hold on to the values vouchsafed
By her father, which she clearly clung to, perhaps as a means to survive
The infamies that her various associations engendered, and all this
Post Diana and despite Andrew whose sticky hands on the honey
Have corrupted both throne and hive. Heathcote Williams’ Royal
Babylon equals Kenneth Anger’s old book on film-stars, but for most,
This small woman managed to avoid the vast stain which smeared
The flag, set at half mast now, and forever, as with her death,
We die also, either without, or in pain. Should we lick further stamps,
They will simply be farewell kisses to a notional mother and grandma, too
For us all, who remember the past and some of those old social standards
In which everyone became Cinderella with a kick or shot at the ball.
The oiks knew their place and afforded her adoration. She rose above
Broken roof-tiles to make fantasies for dulled crowds, that fit into
The mantelpiece frame and the TV screen at 3pm every Christmas,
Her job was to make us all feel familiar and not rained on, or subject
To the unhealthy strain of clogged clouds. In turn, we kept her
Close at hand and closer still in the pocket, jangling liz to feel lucky,
As if the tossing of coins echoed wealth, and yet the space further split
When we contemplated their lifestyle and considered the stories
That spoke of darkened corridors set for stealth. And yet, through it all
And despite accusation; Elizabeth Windsor, like a masthead graced storm
And sea, to retain a calm course which even The Crown would not ruffle,
Claire Foy and Olivia Coleman each exposing the firm hand that led each
Corgi. Despite Phillip’s gaffs and his gallivanting, despite rule and rumour,
And her sister’s existential sluttery, consorting with criminals, as well as
Peter Sellers, Mick Jagger, Mustique and mystery masking a truly alien way
To be, David Icke might say that, having written of lizards. But the things
We will never know will remind us of just how far it is we all live
From the real facts of life, and thus, the real story. And while the remaining
Royals are not Shakespeare’s, perhaps these small scale stealings are ones
That even Marlowe might forgive. For there is enough subplot still,
As William and Harry both boil and bubble, as one wife rehearses
A debutante’s dream from days old, while the other Lady Macbeths,
Planning her own starred ascension, and quickly rewriting her exile
To charter and charm from the cold. Meanwhile, for now.
Their time -dulled Dad understudies, going on at last after decades,
Which must have put heart and soul under strain. I can see tussles
And tears below stairs and no doubt up and down them, the country
Cut up into slices, as if Lear’s darker purpose had been limerick
Not quatrain. And so, The Queen leaves the stage, while another Liz
Breaks the backdrop, exposing the bare brick behind us and the cracks
To come, the roof leaks. As it does everywhere. But who or what
Can now seal it? Where is our nation and who do we truly have
Who can speak? We kill them when they do. Heathcote Williams wrote
That Elizabeth the First murdered Marlowe. And many believe that Diana –
Well, this isn’t the day to say that. For me, my prized Liz, was the always
Beautiful Taylor, but we have lost with this monarch both curiosity
And the cat. The wise one who knew but who never revealed the full
Picture, for no portrait captures the woman she was, or her time.
Now she is historical fact, and Vicky and Liz are statistics, and the eyes
That sized up everyone from Churchill to Johnson turn from this unsteady
Earth to the lyme. And yet I too was touched by the photo of that tiny
Widow, alone last year when her husband of 70 years slipped the net.
Will she catch him once more in the far estate they have moved to,
Or does the soul in dispensing become part of something else which forgets
What we are. What we were. And what we cannot be, ever. Leaders.
We’re trying. But now the Liz we have left is suspect. Camelot is long crushed,
Even balmoral is bungalowed, somehow. Ruined reputations and the lack
Of substance soon spills. Elizabeth leaves us now with a test: will a republic
Rise to reclaim things, or will we ‘ribena’, watering wine’s richness still?
Everything is now up for grabs. King Charles III beats Mike Bartlett.
The coming days could bring omen. Or pitch portent, friends.
The Smith’s album plays. The crest needs a new designer, Regina.
The Queen is dead. So is England. Or what we thought it was once.
That past ends.
David Erdos 8/9/22