Michael Shepherd

Rookie (8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

0348 Me, Royalty And Fame - Poem by Michael Shepherd

I didn't wave anything at the Queen
when I saw her leaving an official reception
sitting bolt upright in the car,
still, pale, exhausted,
on her way to the next engagement
of the five or so that day.

I didn't say much to the Queen Mum
when presented to her -
some people chat with royalty when introduced
like old friends; others, even the most anti-monarchical
turn to idiot jelly. But
she sure was good in dealing with it.
A pro to her fingertips.

I didn't say anything to Prince Charles
when he opened an exhibition
that he and I had an interest in;
but I'm proud to say we pushed
the greatest man in the room
into the receiving line
which otherwise he would not have sought.

I didn't say anything to Princess Diana
when at a reception I saw she'd spotted
the big red badge I'd been given and wore proudly -
'One of the nice things about New York';
I felt a fraud and slunk away.

I didn't say anything to the Prime Minister
when he invited me for tea -
the invitation got mislaid.

I didn't say anything to John and Yoko
when I met them at her first art exhibition -
since just looking is what art is for.

I didn't say anything to the Rolling Stones
when there they were sitting in a line
in the sunlight on the wall outside the National Gallery
before they were screaming-famous.

I didn't say much to Andy Warhol
since my question seemed to knock him backwards -
he leaned back, shrugged and said weakly
'It seemed a good idea at the time...'
then his minders hustled him on through the Andy Andy.

I didn't say much to Gloria Swanson
when some upmarket con unexpectedly
put me on the telephone to her
about her sculpture.

I didn't say anything to Marianne Faithfull
when she came in to the shop -
I was downstairs typing invoices at the time.

I didn't say anything to William Burroughs
when he was living in the flat above -
he didn't seem to want to talk.

I didn't say much to the Canadian Prime Minister
sitting next to him at that lavish banquet -
they'd changed Prime Ministers from the swinging one
between the invitation and the banquet.

And that's about it, really. The rest
of the time you can't stop me talking.

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Read poems about / on: car, red, time, people, shopping, change, friend

Poem Submitted: Monday, April 25, 2005

Poem Edited: Saturday, July 15, 2006

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