Elizabeth II

By Ruth Stacey
In today's correspondence a poetry book
detailing the lives of British Queens—
with a note enclosed and a question:
what does it mean to be a Queen?

I could reply and say
this precious stone set in a silver sea:
a symbol, like a banner, for mens' love.
But these are not my words.

I could reply and say—
glorying in the glories of my people,
sorrowing with the sorrows of the lowest.
But these are not my words.

I could declare—
that each Queen is tissue paper thin,
transluscent but combined, are my flesh.
But I will not solidify my words,

instead I will command my secretary to write,
with many kind thanks for the little book etc,
but to say my thoughts on Queenship
can only be ascertained by my actions.

Ruth Stacey, "Elizabeth II" from Queen, Jewel, Mistress. Copyright © 2015 by Ruth Stacey.  Reprinted by permission of Eyewear Publishing.
Source: Queen, Jewel, Mistress (Eyewear Publishing, 2015)