Poem

Maxine Beneba Clarke
Royal

folktale has it

         new arrivals,

they’ll throw any queen

or kingdom

             into spin

 

angered uninvited guests

will conjure curses

 

horses are saddled:

messengers dispatched far and wide

to burn the spinning wheels

 

firstborns, golden

they are worth their wait:

 

their christened names

secreted away

     lest rumpelstiltskin hear

the whispers

 

so, the sussex baby’s here:

 

son of an english prince,

and in his lineage slaves

 

son of a proud black kween,

and in his lineage masters

 

the empire has new clothes,

                       that’s what i hear

 

 

cause in the end,

     the baby’s just a baby

bringing all the soiled nappies

gummy-smiling, chucking, waking nights

and charming

     even while in tears

 

no more royalty

than any other born that day

 

and no less wonder

     

       that true love has brought to bear

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on May 11, 2019 as "Royal". Subscribe here.

Maxine Beneba Clarke
is The Saturday Paper’s poet laureate, and the author of The Hate Race and Foreign Soil. She is a winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Poetry.