Saturday, 4 April 2015


Otherness. Definition: the quality of being different. None more so than those who reign over us, eh?

Almost a breed apart, the Royals, what with their divine right, their big palaces, their huge swathes of land, their savage Corgis etc etc (Excuse my somewhat tongue-in-cheek swipe at the Windsors.)

HRH Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother
I wrote this poem about our lovely Queen Mother (as was) as part of the Visitors In Verse project about famous guests who have stayed at Blackpool's beautiful Imperial (Hydropathic) Hotel.

Imperial Hydropathic Hotel, Blackpool
It references a visit to the town and the hotel by the Queen Mother in the mid 1950s and tells the true story about a rather unfortunate glitch in the functioning of the hotel's lift. It is an entertaining insight into a grand lady's sense of humour and is a bit of local folklore. I hope you enjoy it.

Royal Descent
Another world war hardly won,
an empire crumbling in the sun,
the King is dead,
long live the Queen;
a new Elizabethan age begun,
a step down for her gracious mum. 

While winds of change
touch foreign shores,
on Blackpool’s strand
in face of time and tide,
we loyal subjects still enjoy
our ices and our donkey-rides
or thrill upon the Pleasure Beach,
tomorrow safely out of reach. 

The dowager Queen ventures forth
to this bright jewel of the north
and it augurs well
for the Imperial Hydropathic Hotel
that Her Majesty,
escorted up by Mr White,
will repose stately for the night
in its famous Royal Suite,
freshly decked in honour of her stay. 

Only, progress is delayed
much to the Manager’s dismay
when his lift grinds to untimely halt
between the floors.
After a brief but furious flurry of activity,
malfunction remedied,
and with his profuse apologies,
Her Majesty continues on to bed.

At the appointed hour the following day
Jack White attends his special guest.
As she emerges from her rest,
this last Empress of India
and ‘most dangerous woman in Europe’,
mindful of the previous evening’s slight delay,
advises him demurely with a smile:
“I think I’ll walk down, Mr White.”
He bows, acceding to her royal wish
and stealthy feels his neck,
hardly daring to reflect
on the price he might have paid
in a less forgiving age
for a grain of Blackpool sand in the machine.
Thanks for reading. Have a good week. S :-)


Christo said...

Very enjoyable and good to see you back on form, Steve.

Anonymous said...

Love your poem.

Anonymous said...

I knew Jack White and he would often tell that story.

Anonymous said...

A fascinating blog, Steve. I like the nervous twist at the end of your poem.

Anonymous said...

Well observed and witty that, thank you :-)

Anonymous said...

What a beautifully constructed poem. I particularly like that second verse.

Pat Harris said...

My grandmother was invited to have tea with her but alas I think the invite is now lost. It is a long time ago and I think the event took place in the Town Hall.

Anonymous said...

Good poem/story.

Anonymous said...

Steve, this was a delight to read. Is it published anywhere? I would love a copy.