ANN PILLING: Novelist and Poet


At funerals the weather can be heartless
like today, when the royal man
was rolled slowly out on his green truck,
big sun, sky immaculate as the gravel.

Primary colours , everything polished,
the boots and the bugles, the mourners
crisp as black paper cut-outs and the Queen
tiny under a wide hat.

Tight-tailored to reveal nothing
she sits apart, not wearing
her automatic smile
when the cameras point at her face.

‘Was the Queen crying’? I remember that
from childhood, how the newspapers
would peck at her, and peck,
like birds grubbing for worms.

Someone has died. Another clod of earth
has been washed away by the sea
making the island smaller. Switch off now,
let the bell toll.

Ann Pilling 2020

This poem appears in "Ways of Speech" published by Shoestring Press. For details click here.