On accidentally being in London on the day of the royal wedding
Harry and Megan never consulted me
before scheduling their royal wedding for when
I would be making my very first visit to England,
and my invitation got lost in the Royal Mail–
they might at least have invited me to the reception–
so while they were saying their vows at Windsor Castle,
I was touring London’s parks and squares,
where people congregated to enjoy
a fine spring day in a celebratory mood;
only the monarchists interpreted the lovely weather
as a sign of heaven’s blessing on the couple,
but even republicans were game for a picnic and a pint.
In Green Park and St. James’s, the tourists
strolled about, taking the royal air
despite Her Majesty’s absence from Buckingham Palace,
while locals sat around chatting or walked their dogs.
In Russell Square, twenty-somethings sunned themselves shirtless,
and loners read novels on shady benches
under gnarly plane trees leafy and green,
against one of which a terrier relieved himself.
Two uni students on a coffee date
at the Italian cafe in the corner
spoke of their studies, politics, life, and themselves
over cappuccino ordered so late in the day
that the Italians surely snickered in laughing derision.
At the adjacent table, three English generations–
father, son, and father’s father–drank pints
from tall, thin pilsner glasses, and in
the trio one could see three ages of man.
The young man, blond and bright, drew my eye,
but I pondered his father’s thoughts, and feared
that I share most of the grandpa’s years.
An Asian family talked little but exchanged
glances charged with centuries of meaning,
and two elder gents, one armed with a can,
the other in a driving cap, commented
dryly on perpetual injustice
and chuckled at the antics of a pair of corgis;
I wondered if Virginia Woolf had dogs,
and, if so, how they coped with loss.
Over in Soho pretty boys sat on the lawn,
gossiping and drinking beer from cans;
the mood was about the same, though the denim
was slashed more artfully and the humor a bit more arch:
With the aid of a paper mask, someone had dressed
the statue of Charles the Second in Meghan drag.
T. Allen Culpepper