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  • Writer's pictureAnne Mitchell


“The Queen’s bees have been informed of her death”

“Please stay”, he begs of the broods

while wrapping them in black satin

ribbons, bows to upstage sepias

of September’s wildflowers, grasses.

Their keeper knocks

on her hives, offers a prayer

as notice of Her Majesty’s death.

Scouts call for a vote,

their waggle dance signals

a resounding “aye”-at Buckingham

they will remain,

but first they gather

for the final swarm,

pageant for their Queenkeeper-

Flight in formation,

bee queens and attendants,

nursemaids, pollen keepers,

wax builders, cleaners and drones-

they join the great queue as it snakes

London’s streets, thousands

of her bees alongside

lorrie drives and lords, grans and barristas,

an Indian in eagle feather headdress,

the soccer star, pensioners on walkers.

Camaraderie careens through the final

hush of Westminster’s mourning-

curtsey and bow before

the somber luster of her crown,

scepter and orb fastened

in the weight of silence.

Published in September, 2022, The Poet Magazine - Poetry for The Queen

I was so moved by the collective grief of the British people it was as though I mourned along with everyone in the country. The observation of ancient rituals and ceremony clearly comforted a nation and brought dignity back into the conversation. I couldn’t help wondering what it would be like here, if we had a Queen like Elizabeth, someone to dedicate their life, in earnest, to serving the people. As an amateur Beekeeper, I was touched to read that her bees also mourned.


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