Mary Queen of Scots
by Claudia Lehman
This poem was first published in the 2020 Leaf Magazine.
I wonder would it comfort you to know,
fair thwarted queen, that I looked through my panes
(when clouds were blowing through the old trees’ hair
and everywhere the scent and sound of rain,
finding my heart warm for a little leaf
that clung so bravely to a dizzy bough,
pushed skyward by an ignorant old vine,
it swung and shivered, wind-whipped, yet somehow
it clung–) and your name came.
Could you have known
how fierce the skies when first you dreamed to climb?
The prism of your love could not redeem
your loves from what they were. Time after time
you wrangled, wept, devised your codes and prayers,
while lives fell red as petals for your cause
about your feet, and England’s haloed crown
caught far off by perhaps unlawful laws
glittered remotely on your cousin’s head.
I cannot say hero or fool, but–friend.
I know the honeyed agony of dreams
disguised as truth until the very end.
Claudia Lehman lives in Păltiniş, Romania, with her favorite poet, Kyle, and their daughter Josephine. She loves teaching, old books, Earl Grey tea, wildflowers, and her comfort zone.
Videography by James Weaver