I saw the heir to the throne today.
He grasped my arm, seized my eye,
and urged me to pray for him and for the realm.
In truth, he didn't. That isn't true at
all, though thronging behind the barrier I did thrust
close enough to see the sun smiling from his
bald spot, admire his purpled tie, and hear
my wife say Isn't he
tall? They've learnt a thing or two
since Smithfield in '81
(thirteen, that is), the royals:
when tall Wat Tyler got too close
and kingship hung on a thread.
He grasped King Richard's arm
all right and nearly made
off with his head.
And the close shave that time
at Boscobel Wood in '51
(sixteen, I mean), with the roundheads:
when a tall hollow oak was all
that cloaked King Charles's arse from an axe-swing.
That soldier would've wasted no time,
by God, were it not that
God saved the king.
No, they know what's what in the Memorial Park (for '14
to '18, World War I). Obscurely obvious and all very
smooth, all very twenty fourteen.
Men in black with spaghetti in ears; boys in blue
dressed as highlighter pens.
I'd not have got close had I wanted a shot,
was I the regicide type
(which I'm not).
But it did make me think
if I was, if I had, what would happen?
If I reached in my pocket for a gun I don't own
taken aim at the bald spot and fired?
Would some satellite signal take me out quick -
Would my wife be adjusted and returned
to our house with a mind wiped quite clean
of her spouse?
But no-one thought it, I think, on that day:
we were all much too happy to see him:
a grinning Muslim beside us giggles,
a cyclist cheers, mums with buggies beam.
"We love you William, we love you, we do"
sing some girls
and I know what they mean:
something within the heart of a human
wants a human who's like us - yet more - an icon of the possible
a token that there's something to rule.