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Saturday, September 10, 2022


by Indran Amirthanayagam

The Queen is dead. This afternoon

at Balmoral Castle, on the eighth

of September. We mourn her


throughout the Commonwealth

and much of the planet. This is

no easy passing, from the world


before and the world to come.

When she assumed her brief

India and Ceylon had just won


their latest independence. 

When she traveled to Ceylon 

in 1954 to see the fledgling 


new nation she charmed 

everyone she met, from mahout 

to rickshaw driver to staff 


at the Queen's Hotel

in Kandy. I imagine

she stayed at Galle Face too,


and Sir Chittampalam

Gardiner led the royal couple

to their rooms. Dignity


is the word. Quiet resolve.

Memory of how Britain

survived the Blitz, how


it let go of its imperial

arrogance to later become

part of Europe, one among


equals—how it lost great

comics to homogenization

of the transatlantic

championing of money

above all values. She

saw Monty Python,


Dave Allen, the Two 

Ronnies, Peter Sellers,

and other geniuses on stage, 


in music, on television,  

leave their wit in history

books of a golden age.


She lived through many

and leaves us now to balance 

our nostalgia against 


the return of a would-be 

iron lady to Downing Street.

God forbid Truss may


just bring out the artists

again, born in suffering,

a new Mersey sound,


a Notting Hill dub,

English revolution,

Commonwealth invasion.

Indran Amirthanayagam's newest book is Ten Thousand Steps Against the Tyrant (BroadstoneBooks). Recently published is Blue Window (Ventana Azul), translated by Jennifer Rathbun.(Dialogos Books). In 2020, Indran produced a “world" record by publishing three new poetry books written in three languages: The Migrant States (Hanging Loose Press, New York), Sur l'île nostalgique (L’Harmattan, Paris) and Lírica a tiempo (Mesa Redonda, Lima). He writes in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Haitian Creole and has twenty poetry books as well as a music album Rankont Dout. He edits The Beltway Poetry Quarterly and helps curate Ablucionistas. He won the Paterson Prize and received fellowships from The Foundation for the Contemporary Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, US/Mexico Fund For Culture, and the MacDowell Colony. He hosts the Poetry Channel on YouTube and publishes poetry books with Sara Cahill Marron at Beltway Editions.