Poet Laureate Simon Armitage celebrates the Queen’s death with a poem

Poet Laureate Simon Armitage wrote a poem to mark the Queen’s death.

Floral Tribute is composed of two stanzas of nine lines each, describing the coming of a September evening and the appearance of a lily as a “sign of thanks”.

Lily of the valley was one of the Queen’s favorite flowers and featured in her coronation bouquet.

Since then it has held special associations and grows in the garden of Buckingham Palace.

Lily of the valley, one of the Queen’s favorite flowers (Buckingham Palace/PA)

The poem uses the form of a double acrostic, meaning that the first letter of each line spells Elizabeth when taken together.

In the first stanza, Armitage writes: “A promise made and kept for life – it was your gift”.

Later, he adds: “The whole country has taken charge in your fine hands / Hands that can rest, now, relieved from the weight of a century.”

Armitage has been Poet Laureate since May 2019, when he met the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

He took over from Dame Carol Ann Duffy, who was also at the palace for an audience with the Queen to step down from the role.

For the platinum jubilee, Armitage wrote a poem, Queenhood, to mark his 70 years of service.

The poet, who grew up in Marsden, West Yorkshire, has published around 30 books of poetry and his work is studied by children as part of the National Curriculum.

He worked as a probation officer in Greater Manchester until 1994 before concentrating on poetry.

– Floral tribute by Simon Armitage

Evening will come, whatever late afternoon is determined,
Lime trees and oaks in their last green color, pearling in the September mist.
I have conjured a lily to light up these hours, in token of thanks,
Areas and auras of soft glow framing the glowing orbs.
A promise made and kept for life – it was your gift –
Because of what, here is a gift in return, a glove for some,
Each shiny cap is guarded by severe lance-shaped leaves.
The country has taken on its entirety in your delicate hands,
Hands that can rest now, relieved of the weight of a century.

Evening has come. Rain on black lochs and dark munros.
Lily of the valley, an almost namesake, a favorite flower
Intertwined with your famous bouquets, the sober
Zeal and energetic grace of its lanterns, each inflorescence
A silent bell disguising a singular voice. A blurry new day
Crownless breaks on remote peaks and public parks, and
Everything revolves around these luminous petals and deep roots,
This lily that grows between the arrow and the tree, whose brilliance
Holds and shines beyond life and the boundary of its flowering.

About Jerry Richter

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