Poem: Two Queens

A poem by Ursula Pearson, a reflection upon a certain irony of circumstance occurring during her 80th reunion at Smith College.

Editor’s Note: Ursula Setlow Pearson wrote the following poem, “Two Queens,” in 2012, upon the occasion of her 80th class reunion at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. As it happened, that year was also the Diamond Jubilee celebration for Queen Elizabeth II, a multinational commemoration of the 60th anniversary of her ascension to the British throne.

 

Two Queens

Two queens were we

Celebrating our separate milestone jubilees;

Clad all in white, she rode in a splendid,

regal carriage;

Clad all in white, I rode in a golf cart of

uncertain vintage;

Her path was emblazoned by red, a flamboyant

hue,

My class color, though royal purple, was

much more subdued;

For each of us bands played above the crowds’

cheers

With music deafening parade attendants’ ears;

Her subjects lined London’s street in a

display of loyalty;

A procession of reunioning Smith alumnae

applauded me;

A battery of recording cameras pointed

directly at my face

With a curiosity as if I were an extra-

terrestrial from outer space;

All looked at me with an unmistakable awe,

Perhaps the first centenarian they ever saw;

The world was her witness on international

television,

Broadcasting her magnificent entourage

with elegant precision;

And yet, I hope, though hatless, I cut a more

fashionable image

Than the royal icon of wealth and privilege

Who, always surrounded by handmaidens

and servile lackeys,

Never toasted an English muffin or hulled an

English pea.

I think she was deprived in her very protected

life

Although she is both mother and wife;

But her husband is only a consort, she’s at the helm,

My husband, by contrast, was king of my realm;

Pomp and circumstance and adulation are a

monarch’s normal scene;

For plebeian me, it was a rare moment of

attention, fleeting as a dream;

Her number of years is her chief advantage over me;

She counted only 60; I was on an eightieth

reunion spree;

She will reign the many years till destiny

has its say;

My celebrity short-lived, I was queen for

only a day.

 

7/12/12