A poem by Chengde Chen
A Royal Question
With Her Majesty’s 90th birthday approaching,
Britain can’t help asking an inconvenient question:
why still no sign of abdication?
Apart from anything else, won’t the 68-year-old future king
become too old for his future?
It is said that there are two reasons for her persisting.
One, it’s a British tradition that the monarch doesn’t retire.
Two, she made her vow in her coronation to serve for life.
Yet, how does she see her heir apparent’s situation?
Isn’t a mother’s devotion an instinctive “tradition” and “vow”?
If a ceremonial title weighs more than her son’s happiness,
hasn’t wearing the crown exhausted her motherhood?
To succeed to the throne is a prince’s natural desire,
much as students want to graduate or fledglings want to fly.
The humiliation of the long wait, the grey hair from restraint:
wouldn’t the mother have seen and understood?
She can pretend not to have, or choose to ignore them, but
can she ignore the resentment growing in his heart?
If he is waiting for, or even longing for, his mother’s…,
what would this mean to her?
The soul-stirring succession stories that happened in history
–the internal strife, the murderous fighting with drawn swords–
are the logical development of prince psychology.
To keep the throne, or the son, that is the question.
Chengde Chen is the author of Five Themes of Today: philosophical poems. Readers can find out more about Chengde and his poems here