Floral Tribute: Poet Laureate Simon Armitage’s Poem for the Queen

British Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage, has written a touching poem to mark the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

In the poem, titled Floral Tribute, Simon describes the coming of a September evening and the appearance of a lily-of-the-valley, one of the Queen’s favourite flowers.

These beautiful and fragrant white flowers were included in Her Majesty’s coronation bouquet in 1953, and are often seen in floral displays at Buckingham Palace. 

If you look at the poem carefully, you’ll see that Simon has spelled the name Elizabeth in each stanza. 


Evening will come, however determined the late afternoon,

Limes and oaks in their last green flush, pearled in September mist.

I have conjured a lily to light these hours, a token of thanks,

Zones and auras of soft glare framing the brilliant globes.

A promise made and kept for life – that was your gift –

Because of which, here is a gift in return, glovewort to some,

Each shining bonnet guarded by stern lance-like leaves.

The country loaded its whole self into your slender hands,

Hands that can rest, now, relieved of a century’s weight.


Evening has come. Rain on the black lochs and dark Munros.

Lily of the Valley, a namesake almost, a favourite flower

Interlaced with your famous bouquets, the restrained

Zeal and forceful grace of its lanterns, each inflorescence

A silent bell disguising a singular voice. A blurred new day

Breaks uncrowned on remote peaks and public parks, and

Everything turns on these luminous petals and deep roots,

This lily that thrives between spire and tree, whose brightness

Holds and glows beyond the life and border of its bloom.

Posted in Uncategorized.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *