.

For My Queen

Queen Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor
April 21, 1926 – September 8, 2022

My symbol of nobility, stability and grace,
Who reigned yet never ruled—she was my constant caring face
On TV screen, on stamps, in scenes of history’s changing view.
She slipped away this solemn day—her time to bid adieu.

The only monarch I have loved, the only queen I’ve known
(This stalwart soul my heart embraced as family of my own)
Has left the throne for greater realms beyond the fuss and fray.
She’s left me with a wealth of wondrous memories at play.

So on this day, I’d like to say—dear Lilibet, goodbye.
My one and only gracious Queen, please hear my grateful cry—
You shone with poise and dignity and honour and respect
In times when truth had lost its way and hope was all but wrecked…

By those who never saw the light in eyes that blazed as bright
As anthems sung in notes that rose like Windsor swans in flight.

.

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Susan Jarvis Bryant has poetry published on Lighten Up Online, Snakeskin, Light, Sparks of Calliope, and Expansive Poetry Online. She also has poetry published in TRINACRIA, Beth Houston’s Extreme Formal Poems anthology, and in Openings (anthologies of poems by Open University Poets in the UK). Susan is the winner of the 2020 International SCP Poetry Competition, and has been nominated for the 2022 Pushcart Prize.


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58 Responses

  1. Brian Yapko

    Susan, what a beautiful, heartfelt tribute to a great lady and a most dignified, charitable and tireless queen. In these inelegant times she will be sorely missed. I fear that her like will never be seen again. To paraphrase what was said of Lincoln, now she belongs to the Ages.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Brian, every word you say is true… sadly. Elizabeth the Great was one of a kind and many are grieving. Her presence has been so familiar for so long she was a source of pride and a comfort for many. I will miss her dearly. Thank you for your beautiful comment… you capture the spirit of this magnificent woman perfectly.

      Reply
  2. Russel Winick

    A lovely tribute to a class act. It’s astonishing what Susan can write in just minutes! I wonder what the elegant Queen privately thought when seeing national leaders of an entirely different sort, including, but by no means limited to, what we have in the White House today.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you very much, Russel. Yes, I wrote this in thirty minutes… but that’s because the words were already in my heart… I just had to let them out. If the poem lacks finesse, that’s because it’s unpolished… just like my feelings today. As for dealing with politics, I honestly feel the answer is in her reigning not ruling. I often wish she had ruled. She went through WWII so I’m sure she knows exactly what a tyrannical government looks like. Our soon to be King has been overtly political… I don’t think it’s done him any favors.

      Reply
      • Cheryl Corey

        For something you wrote in thirty minutes, I don’t think it’s unpolished at all. To the contrary, I would say that it is polished, largely because it came, as you say, from your heart. I especially like your closing phrase, “Windsor swans in flight”. Britain has lost a great treasure.

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Cheryl, I’ve just seen this. Thank you very much indeed.

  3. Sally Cook

    The Queen is gone – we knew she would,
    She would have stayed here if she could,
    The kind that seldom comes to light,
    A leader good and kind and bright.

    Thanks for your lovely lines — we miss her too.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you, my friend, and thank you too for your lovely poetic tribute. I know you miss her, and I am certain Her Majesty is missed worldwide.

      Reply
  4. Rohini

    What a moving, beautiful poem for a perfect monarch, “who reigned and never ruled”… perfection, just like the Queen.

    Reply
  5. Joshua C. Frank

    Wow… How do you manage to write these so well, so quickly? So moving and beautiful, such a fitting poem for so dignified an office and so dignified a holder of that same office. I think it would be great if the Royal Family saw this one!

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Josh, thank you very much! I thoroughly appreciate your kind words. I feel like hand-delivering my poem to my British friends, family, and slipping it through the letterbox of Buckingham Palace… it’s at time like these my heart longs to fly home.

      Reply
  6. Mary Gardner

    Susan, what a beautiful tribute to your beloved Queen Elizabeth. Your poem expresses the vibrancy and dignity of this great lady.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Thank you for your lovely comment, Mary. It’s much appreciated. Queen Elizabeth was a great lady indeed.

      Reply
  7. Margaret Coats

    Susan, thank you for a heartfelt poem that makes many of us reflect sadly on the only queen we’ve known. In his platinum jubilee poem, poet laureate Simon Armitage said queenhood is a “truthful fantasy.” How well Elizabeth lived up to the ideal and the beauty of that paradox. She created queenhood anew in her life as a wondering world watched. And for its end, you give us the natural yet transcendent image of Windsor swans in flight.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Margaret, thank you for this lovely comment. The “truthful fantasy” paradox is really thought provoking. I’ve always thought the queen led a goldfish-bowl life and no material marvels can ever compensate for a life of constant scrutiny. That’s why the queen loved Balmoral so much… she had time to breathe. I’m a fan of the film, ‘The Queen’ starring Helen Mirren. It shows the harsh reality of being queen and a little glimpse of the enormity of the burden she bore to keep her country united when the press had an alternative goal. I thoroughly recommend it. This tough and beautiful lady of integrity and dignity has left an invaluable legacy.

      Reply
  8. C.B. Anderson

    If I had not watched The Crown on cable, I might not have understood what all of you Brits are going on about. Some of my ancestors were British, and I appreciate the idea that a monarch is not just a butterfly.

    Reply
    • Mike Bryant

      A monarch’s not a butterfly.
      Their lives do quickly flutter by…
      Some in months and some in years,
      Some in laughter, some in tears.

      Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      For me, C.B., it’s not so much the monarchy as it is the woman at the helm, a woman I admire for many reasons. No one asks to be born into the families they are, and I’ve always seen the Queen as a stalwart figure who has accepted her duties and carried them out because that is what was expected of her. She is of an era – an era of real care, real duty, and real integrity. She did exactly what she vowed to do and did it well. Whatever pains and worries she had, she bore them and soldiered on. I have a feeling she was much happier in her wellingtons and headscarf rambling through her Scottish estate than she was waving from her Buckingham Palace balcony… but, only she knew that, and that’s exactly what I love about her.

      Reply
  9. Mike Bryant

    She was quite a woman, Queen, mother and wife who, from a young age, perfectly understood her duties and perfectly performed those duties. Susan, you have done your countries and your Queen a wonderful favour with this timely and fitting tribute to her majesty,

    Reply
  10. Martin Rizley

    Susan,
    I was looking forward to reading this tribute to Queen Elizabeth which I knew you would write. It is a lovely poem that highlights those qualities that made her such an admirable monarch. She truly stood head and shoulders above so many world leaders in terms of her personal integrity, dignified bearing, and her complete dedication to fulfill with honor the duties of her calling to serve as the visible symbol and figurehead of a nation. She represented that nation in a truly gracious and noble manner; for that, she was greatly loved and will be greatly missed.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Martin, you know me so well… I simply had to write a poem for this remarkable woman. I fear she is one of the last of her kind. Let’s hope her values have influenced many. From what I’ve been reading, they have. And that is a good thing. Thank you very much for your lovely words… they mean a lot.

      Reply
  11. Jeff Eardley

    Susan, your lovely poem should be broadcast across our grieving nation today. For our boomer generation, she was always there as if looking out for us.
    I well remember being five years old, waving my little flag at the waving, gloved hand as the Rolls passed through our town. It is these tiny memories that are returning today.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Jeff, thank you very much… I was eight or nine when the Queen waved her white-gloved hand in my direction. She smiled at me and from that moment on she snuck into my heart and she’s still there. Did you know one of her first and favourite corgis was named Susan? That is the nearest I will ever get to living in a palace!

      Reply
  12. Hasthamivar

    Susan,
    You mirrored and echoed the minds and affect of thousands across the world.
    She played her multifaceted role , with grace and dignity, suiting the changes , that entered Royal family , with Aplomb.

    She was the Queen….and will be the Only Queen….in the history …

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Hasthamivar, thank you most kindly for your lovely words. You are right when you say, “She was the Queen….and will be the Only Queen….in the history …” You echo my thoughts.

      Reply
  13. Richard Craven

    Thank you Susan. A fitting memorial to Elizabeth the Great. I’m a dual British/Canadian national, so she was my Queen twice over.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Richard, how lovely to have Elizabeth the Great as your Queen twice over – we have been blessed to have such a fine lady in this role during much of our lifetimes. It was an absolute honour to write a poem for her… though no words I write will ever be able capture her wonder.

      Reply
  14. James Sale

    One thing is certain, Susan Jarvis Bryant: you should actually be England’s Poet Laureate, for this is a real tribute poem, superbly executed. What we will actually get from the ‘officialdom posing as poet’ will be more of that intellectual soufflé that ever since Ted Hughes initiated it has mildly disgusted me. Well done. Susan for Laureate, then!

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      James, thank you! I am up for it! Poet Laureate of England, here I am, ready and waiting. Although, I am absolutely certain my blatant disregard for political correctness may get me rowed through Traitor’s Gate after my first ode.

      Reply
      • Margaret Coats

        I think not, Susan. You are quite fortunate that the next appointment is likely to be in 2029, after Simon Armitage has held the position for its 10-year term. You will not have to come up with a laureate’s opening poems for the new reign! But prepare yourself. Armitage appears to have been caught off guard by the Queen’s passing. So far we have only an 18-line “Floral Tribute.” It is quite acceptably lovely, but could he not have thought ahead and written something of more profound splendor about a very full life of 96 years? Still, he may be saving a memorial elegy for later. I myself would have thought Her Majesty might live to 100, as her mother did.

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        You make some very good points here, Margaret. Surely a poet laureate would have a few jottings in his notepad for this historic occasion… but, all poets work differently. Some like the adrenalin surge of the moment to get the words flowing… I work much like that. And, although James has nominated me, my reputation will ensure that this role is not for me… my thinking is far too independent for Britain as she stands.

  15. Joseph S. Salemi

    A great Queen is dead — one who gave her total life, unstintingly and freely, to the service of her nation. She knew and accepted that royalty means the immolation of one’s personal desires and needs, and devotion instead to the inherited obligations of tradition.

    God bless her. And Susan, bless you for that wonderful sonnet. The words “Windsor swans in flight” make a very powerful and wrenching conclusion.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      God bless her indeed! You capture her life perfectly and beautifully – a life that wasn’t her own, a life devoted to her duties, a life that made people feel she belonged to their family… because she did. Thank you, Joe. I will miss her greatly.

      Reply
  16. Jorge G. Hernandez

    Susan, we are far away in New Mexico, but the passing of Queen Elizabeth moved our hearts. Echoing some of the jewels in your lovely poem, we respectfully offer these thoughts:
    “The Queen… a wonder to behold. Her eyes were kindness, her smile lifted the heart, her steadfast presence was an anchor for all. Goodbye Dear Lilibet, we shed a grateful tear for you, our one and only Queen.”

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Jorge, thank you for your beautiful words. It is wonderful to hear of Queen Elizabeth’s worldwide appeal for all the marvelous reasons you mention. I know she will live on in our hearts.

      Reply
  17. Norma Pain

    Thank you Susan for your poem, “For my Queen”. It is a beautiful heart-felt poem that says everything I would like to say. She will be greatly missed by so many.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Norma, thank you very much for this comment. I agree with you – many will miss her. Queen Elizabeth II was one of a kind – a woman of dignity, loyalty, and faith. A woman of an era that is fading fast… sadly.

      Reply
  18. Roy E. Peterson

    I just knew you would write this beautiful tribute. This should be the eulogy read as world leaders gather to bid farewell to a great caring monarch.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Roy, thank you so very much – these words came easily simply because Queen Elizabeth deserves every single one of them… and more. I am thrilled you enjoyed them.

      Reply
  19. Julian D. Woodruff

    The whole English-speaking world and beyond should thank you for this tribute, Susan. The only reasons not to have voted for her as prime minister instead of anyone actually running: 1) then we would not have had her as queen; 2) then she would have had to be a politician.

    Reply
    • Joshua C. Frank

      “Then she would have had to be a politician.” You’ve summarized so well why I think monarchy is a better system than democracy.

      Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Julian, I thoroughly appreciate your wonderful observations. Thank you most kindly!

      Reply
  20. Damian Robin

    A lovely tribute, Susan.

    A lovely woman.

    We are lucky to have lived through her reign, a selfless, straight forward servant of her people and our country, the Commonwealth and the world.

    She did a lot to change the British Commonwealth to The Commonwealth when so many ex-British Empire countries were gaining independence. You may know that four countries have joined The Commonwealth who were never subjects of The Empire.

    She was a person of great character, nobility, strength, humour, perseverance, humanity, and compassion who said little of herself except as a monarch and family member.

    A one-off. A great role model.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Damian, your observations are spot on, especially at a time when some are demonizing the Queen because they are ignorant to the history of the Commonwealth. She was definitely a one-off and a great role model. She didn’t ask to be born into royalty but did her darndest to make sure that she carried out the duties she inherited selflessly and to the best of her ability. I will always picture her gazing upon Scottish heather with her headscarf rippling in the wind and her corgis at her heels… because I believe that’s where she was happiest.

      Reply
  21. David Whippman

    A fine tribute, Susan. I’m not a royalist of the kind who has the royal family’s images on tea towels, mugs etc. But I think our country would lose something important if we became a republic. And I’ll take our monarchy over presidents Mugabe, Chavez, and even Macron any day!

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      David, I’m with you all the way – I agree with every word you say… though I will confess to hanging out some bunting for afternoon tea with tea poured from a teapot with a corgi and a crown on it… but, don’t tell anyone. 😉 Thank you very much for your wonderful comment.

      Reply
  22. Allegra Silberstein

    A beautiful poem for a queen beloved by so many in England and around the world.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Allegra, thank you very much for reading my poem… I am glad you enjoyed it. Queen Elizabeth’s appeal did stretch around the world… she will be missed.

      Reply
  23. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    My final goodbye:

    The End of an Era
    In Memory of Queen Elizabeth II, 1926 – 2022

    Muffle the clamorous chime of Big Ben.
    Mute the mauve beauty of heather-kissed glen.
    Silence the keen of the bagpipes because
    Nothing will ever be just what it was.
    Comfort the corgis and fold gloves of white.
    Make sure the moon isn’t overly bright.
    Dim twinkling stars. These sparkling gems
    Shouldn’t crown ripples that ruffle the Thames.
    Now that the funeral procession has gone
    Bow the proud head of each fine-feathered swan.
    Feed the King’s horses and put them to bed.
    Mop up the tears all the mourners have shed.

    Stoical Lilibet, Queen of my past,
    Your legacy’s valiant, vibrant, and vast. ❤️

    Reply
  24. Damian Robin

    Susan, I am booked to read “For My Queen” on Wednesday morning at a small Zoom meeting of poetry lovers. It is a group from the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR)’s Poetry Please.
    I notice, as I read the poem to prepare, that I do not understand the second line.

    “Who reigned and never ruled: my constant caring face”

    I wonder if you changed this late on as it has one foot less than the other lines and so you let some meaning slip with the foot.

    My difficulty is with “Who reigned and never ruled” — I do not get the difference that you are alluding to between “reigned” and “ruled”.

    If you could reply before 10a.m. on Wednesday, 28th, that would be tremendous.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Damian, I am looking at this and you’re right about the meter change. I’ll get back to you later. As for ruled and reigned… she reigned as a figurehead but was not there to rule. Oliver Cromwell saw to that. I wanted readers to get the feel for her role… more of a peacekeeper… a diplomat… an ambassador than a politician.

      Reply
      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Damian, I’ve made a couple of changes in the first stanza and hope they meet your approval… thank you for pointing out the errors… the price one pays for writing poetry far too quickly. 🙂

  25. Damian Robin

    Your second poem here reminds me of Auden’s “Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone” with its imperatives.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Damian, you are right to be reminded of “Stop all the clocks”… it’s my favourite funeral poem and I drew on it for my final goodbye. I should really give Auden credit for my poem.

      Reply

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