Mad Hatters

The Royals wear Saucer Hats to St. Paul’s Service.
Thoughts are sky bound as a Queen will soon ascend.

In a time of UFOs one wonders about celestial
visitors, other planets to reign over as the earth desists.

The lid of the hat askew, the attached top to an opened
tin can of Spam in the time of rations. The way Royals

hold a teacup, thumb, forefinger on handle, middle
finger to balance it, so as not to spill. A wing is formed

for flying upwards while they drink an earthy brew,
strained so leaves are not caught in teeth. Their white

temple cannot be stained, cannot bear origins, like
Elgin Marbles purified in the gaping British Museum.



Like the weather is also part of
the deprecating British character,
drizzling in order to tone down the day.

Spectators move up the mall, to
Buckingham Palace, greyish umbrellas,
turtles sluggishly march history forward.

The public in plastic waterproof hoods,
nun like in the pietistic misery of the Brits
where rain is a constant blurry religion.

Missives sent from heaven for believers to
part the way, enter the tent of the dampish
holy day. ‘Keep calm and carry on.’

the chant, a prayer. As a Monarch glides
by in a golden carriage where wheels spin
the light of a sun once never set. As if

it was the luminous host an empire sought,
as if warmth could continuously cure,
the leaky chill of nostalgia in stiff bones.


Bermuda Gombey Costume

The hats the seamstress/ designer
holds up remind me of works by
Frank Stella, Gillian Ayres, Nancy
Graves. Reminds me because these

are limited references. Think of traditions
slaves brought with them from Africa,
think of Picasso stealing their aesthetics.
What was denied as artisans were chained

to cells in sea tipsy ships, to bind
a tribal vision, darken it so captives
only saw a white blare as they stumbled
into the blinding light. Their sealed eyelids

like purses to hold memories tight.
Today, a troupe of Gombeys, Front
Street, recall a land of colour, flashing,
dancing, dare all eyes to open wide.

Nancy Anne Miller is a Bermudian poet with eleven collections. Queen Palm is her latest. (Valley Press,U.K.). She is published internationally in journals such as Edinburgh Review, Poetry Ireland Review, The Moth, Salzburg Review, Agenda, Stand, Magma, Ambit, The Fiddlehead, Dalhousie Review, The International Literary Quarterly, The Caribbean Writer, PREE, Bim, Poui, MOKO: Caribbean Arts and Letters among others. She has an M.Litt. in Creative Writing from Univ. of Glasgow She organized the Ber-Mused poetry reading for Bermuda’s 400th in 2009, is a MacDowell Fellow, and Bermuda Arts Council Grant recipient.