The Day I Became a Royalist
The memory of that day’s still sweet,
the way the sun filtered through hedges
beginning to explode
with blooms of hawthorn and chestnut;
the coconut trace that floated up
from yellow bubbled whin;
the excited buzz from her fans,
humming as I set to work.
Deaf as beetles they were,
yet they danced their tales,
while their friends watched
and felt the vibrations.
I longed to dance too,
but my rebel feet refused.
I looked the part.
In fact, I was smoking,
with all the right gear to meet a Queen.
No high fashion, fascinators, stilettos or frocks,
demure — in loose white,
a veil over my face,
The roar arose from the crowd.
Herself was close.
Royal guards drew lances,
made charges as if to say,
‘Your kind’s not welcome here’.
I worked on — ignored the line,
like my Father before,
when I was a child.
When her Highness appeared in my frame of view,
maybe it was the alien look of her dress,
poured out in layers like dark chocolate,
or maybe it was her long legs,
that could do with a rub of the razor,
that made her look huge.
She walked that confident walk of a girl at the top.
Her retinue fussed, had respect.
While her signature scent was strong,
they remained happy, loyal
My senses captured it all
in a way no camera could;
that joy as I watched them dance and hum,
the chinook noise from drones,
the scent of our land collected, condensed,
mind-stamped into my memory cells,
that brought me home to childhood days
when my brother and I dug sections of gold
on our Fathers return.
The memory’s still sweet of that day
when I turned,
on meeting the Queen
of Apis Mellifera Mellifera,
my black honey bees.
BBC Radio Ulster Time of Our Lives, Jan 2019.
The Leitrim Guardian 2019, Nov 2018, Editor Bláithín Gallagher.
Highly Commended, Bailieborough Poetry Prize, 2018.