Carol Ann Duffy: Queen Time

Butt of wine. Guineas. The sound of sabres
rattling like teeth in the cut glass by the bed.
You love the clunk of the funeral bell, flat,
as you answer the coded call. Ode. Dirge.
Epithalamium. Your voice cracks like plaster
when the tall orders arrive on the same day
while the rest watch telly. Princess Anne,
or is it BT's answering service? The Abbey?

Visit. Assassin. Bishop. You have the guts
to garter the knights, to slice open their visors
as if they were hiding pearls. The last rites.
The Charity Shield, the sweet FA . You dash
a brocade of words to a fax, and you leave
the new Pursuivant gasping. Your country looks
fast-forward to a past where the present time
rhymes. I need the work, boss. I want the sack.

From the book Send-Up