Windsor’s Funeral


“Whose Jerusalem –
at usance for its bones’
redemption and last
salvo of poppies?”

– Geoffrey Hill,
‘Churchill’s Funeral’ (1996) 



Mayfair bore me,
Balmoral undid me.

Whose Jerusalem then?
Holyroodhouse mourns
Britannia dis-incarnate.
As the Lamb’s House

knows its brokenness,
& is unable to self-heal.
Flagrant masque-musick,
circumstantial pomp

bouncing off tympanums.
Loreley’s lost kingdom,
a ruptured sceptre-&-ball
sucked into the deluge.

duty perched on altars;
curriculum vitae assured
as vocation’s profile-stamp.

Only featureless Mammon
glowers with triumph,
is marionette-adroit,
pulling off richer pageants.

draped over her catafalque,
mortgaged to infinitum;
Lilibet’s teeth: edge-turned

Mayfair bore me,
Balmoral undid me.


Ten miles: sluice, sweet Thames.
Black Prince’s ruby’s hard-set,
softer carpets absorb the
bitterness of foot-attendance.

Royals lock-step into rank-
&-file. Is ‘Commonwealth’
a euphemism? For the sins
of the British Raj unpaid,

they have their high estate,
dine from the fleshpots; sip
Ceylon with the pre-requisite
grace, profusely hand-shake.

Remember, Death has collateral,
his tooth’s deep in their all-in-all:
Edward’s baldness, Elizabeth’s curlicues,
with only the worms crying: J’accuse!



Windsor is indeed gone & every coin,
copper-cold, zinc-bright that is thrown,
knows that Britannia is utterly blown,
breast-deep in the fiscal Acheron.

Elizabethan segues into
the Carolingian pronto,
even as the twenty-one
grammes are air-lifted.

Bedrock of this post-modern
Britain: immaterialised,
become as insubstantial manna,
as she follows her flame-pillar.

Yet the real wonder is that
she hath endured so long,
only Louis Quartorze longer.
Autumn’s rigor-mortis cleaves

onto Summer; Platinum-
bunting not disposed of yet.
Whose Jubilee? Jerusalem:
a fata morgana almost forgot.



Cardinal points occupied,
a pecking-order demarcated
by birth, whilst the philanderer
falls into mock-subservience.

So they ply their final vigil,
four sentries to a gone Albion
addicted to rite & passage.
Chevrons, medals: pomp-embossed.

So whose Jerusalem? When
blood & semen pour down
palace walls; theatre of unjust
celebrity advertised as public

service, privately laughing
with the founders of the Bank
of England. Hear threnodies
thread-needle the Gold Square

Mile. A cleft nation muddied,
inebriate on their imperial
theme, swelling into obeisance
through ten days of tenebrous

unction: Grief is the price
we pay for love. Grief! So,
in this record-breaking heat,
where are snows of last century?



Her gun-carriage judders,
finds its lost momentum,
itinerary-knowing schedule
like nations set in her hollow

crown, blood blue-printed
in DNA of Britannia’s
Common Weal. Supreme
commandeering, maritime

suzerainty salmoning along
The Mall, buoyed up by
patriotism’s last refuge
to which a scoundrel clings.

Pneumatic-elect Albion
with his celebrity Camelot,
bringing her home for one
last billion-pound mega-bash,

one ultimate hurrah for
the British Broadcasting
Corporation to perform
to the wide-eyed cosmos

during a cost-of-living crisis.
Live out her lovely symbolism,
this efflorescent choreograph
of history: real & re-enacted.

We who are proud witnesses
in a witness-proof world; so
let the gun-carriage roll now
divested of her treasure-house.

Pomp & circumstance
shaking out of a trance;
beatific HD vision
for sons & daughters
of a riven nation

And did those feet
tramp up to Horse Guards?

& thence up to Wellington Arch?



Katabasis at St. George’s,
the vault gapes for her last
descent to Regina Persephone’s
realm. And all those other queens:

Boudicca, Eleanor of Aquitaine,
decapitated Anne, Bloody Mary,
the first Elizabeth who did not
marry, Victoria’s ashen visage

in the incline where asphodels
are more densely gathered:
whispering, grim, conspiratorial,
& their sepals silent-mouthing:

Britannia, Britannia, Britannia . . .

Gloriana-bereft, baleful, grimacing,
no pretence of a great-hearted
magnificence to defeat behemoths
of misrule (aka republicans):

disorder of the Garter,
katabasis at St. George’s;

yet hardly a triumphal-entry
into Jerusalem flying the

three lions, the harp,
the red dragon, O Lioness

rapping hard at




Mark Wilson


Mark Wilson has published four poetry collections: Quartet For the End of Time (Editions du Zaporogue, 2011), Passio (Editions du Zaporogue, 2013), The Angel of History (Leaky Boot Press, 2013) and Illuminations (Leaky Boot Press, 2016). He is the author of a verse-drama, One Eucalyptus Seed, about the arrest and incarceration of Ezra Pound after World War Two, as well as a tragi-comedy, Arden. His poems and articles have appeared in: The Black Herald, The Shop, 3:AM Magazine, International Times, The Fiend, Epignosis Quarterly, Dodging the Rain, The Ekphrastic Review, Rasputin and Le Zaporogue.


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