Thank you to everyone who sent in their poems. We had some excellent pieces with a wide range of viewpoints making it a challenge to judge. But after much reflection this one stood out for me. Our congratulations go to Theresa Gooda for her poem Silver to Platinum. Enjoy!
Silver to Platinum
I remember seeing through legs in a crowd,
and stretching to hold mum’s hand for safety
and a colourful flag that made a nice noise
when I flapped it hard in my tight fist
and the taste of ice cream soda.
The queen looked a bit like Grandma.
She certainly sounded like her.
I must get orf from the branches of the apple tree
because climbing in a dress was unseemly,
and it was important to use the right cutlery.
Later there was a wedding with a proper
princess in it and things in fairy stories
could be real. That dress was Cinderella’s,
the carriage might turn into a pumpkin
and ice cream soda was for babies.
Grown up, I didn’t mind the monarchy, quite
enjoyed the colour and pageantry,
pomp and ceremony in some far-off way:
easier not to examine ideology.
Later still there was the sadness of funerals.
I felt the collective outpouring of grief,
but could not explain why I felt loss for faces
that I’d only stuck down into sticker books,
tongue glued to philtrum with effort
leaving very unprincess-like red marks.
Now a platinum jubilee. Metal that
is malleable, can withstand tensile stress.
There’s been too much of that for all
those women, and so that little child inside of me
is somehow still flapping her flag furiously.
I am a poet, ghostwriter and part-time secondary English teacher. My sixth ghost-written book, part of a Sunday Times best-selling series published by Welbeck, is due for publication in November 2022, and I am currently working on my first poetry pamphlet. I was The Writers Bureau Student of the Year in 2021. As a writer of memoir I am fascinated by both the power and mutability of memory. Writing about the jubilee was an interesting opportunity to explore my relationship with the monarchy right back to hazy reflections of silver jubilee celebrations in 1977.