Poetic Licence: A Portrait of the Queen

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The Independent Culture
Her Majesty has had her picture done and her house taken to the cleaners by `Holiday Which?'

Standing on a landing

By a barley-twisted balustrade

Weirdly nearly beautiful

In ermine, jewel and crown

As ancestors look down

To see a queen in winter

With the hoar-frost on her hair

Ghostly in composure

And that melancholy air

Born of duty and despair

"One is frozen Mr Festing

For posterity or not."

Says the monarch to the artist

As she gazes to the right

From the shadows into light

But the artist was a soldier

With the former soldier's eye

For her rheumy two retainers

Stood in semi-expectaton

Of some hun-and-gate equation

Their halberd spikes point upwards

At the forbears sat behind her

But her grizzled guards at elbow

Must allow that she's fared better

Than Charles and Henrietta

Then the frost sets hard upon her

While the people tramp her palace

And the cloak upon her shoulders

Trails the darkness at her feet

For the portrait is complete.

"One is frozen Mr Festing

For posterity or no."

Then white as late December

With the moonlight on the snow,

The subject turns to go.

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