Monday, September 19, 2022

Carol Ann Duffy shares poem to mark Queen’s passing

The Queen receiving Carol Ann Duffy at Buckingham Palace shortly after Duffy became the poet laureate in 2009. 

Former poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy shares poem to mark Queen’s passing

Poem entitled Daughter written in tribute to Queen Elizabeth II 

Monday 19 September 2022

Carol Ann Duffy, the former poet laureate – who was appointed by the Queen in 2009 – has written a poem entitled Daughter, shared exclusively here, to mark the monarch’s death.


Your mother’s daughter, you set your face

to the road

that ran by the river; behind you, the castle,

its mute ballroom,

lowered flag. Stoic, your profile a head on a coin,

you followed the hearse

through sorrow’s landscape- a farmer, stood

on a tractor,

lifting his tweed cap; a group of anglers

shouldering their rods.

And now the villagers, silently raising

their mobile phones.

Then babies held aloft in the towns, to one day

be told they were there.

But you had your mother’s eyes, as a horse ran free

in a field;

a pheasant flared from a hedge

like a thrown bouquet;

journeying on through a harvest of strange love.

How they craned to glimpse their lives again

in her death; reminded

of Time’s relentless removals, their own bereavements,

as she passed.

The uplift of the high bridge over a dazzle of water;

a sense of ascending

into anointing light which dissolved into cloud.

Nine more slow grey miles to the Old Town; the last mile

a royal mile,

where they gathered ten-deep as your mother showed you

what she had meant.

Nightfall and downpour near London. Even the motorways paused;

thousands of headlights in rain

as you shadowed her still; smatterings of applause

from verges and bridges.

Soon enough they would come to know this had long been

the Age of Grief;

that History was ahead of them. The crown of ice melting

on the roof of the world.

Tonight, childhood’s palace; the iPhone torches linking back

to medieval flame.

So you slowed and arrived with her, her only daughter,

and only her daughter.


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