Image by Caroline Forbes

The Ex-Queen Among the Astronomers

Fleur Adcock


The Ex-Queen Among the Astronomers

Fleur Adcock


Poem introduction

This poem is one unique in my experience that came because of the title - in fact the title came to me first - 'The Ex-Queen Among the Astronomers'. And that phrase just popped into my head from somewhere and then I tried to work out what she might be like, this ex-queen. The image I had of an ex-queen was somebody who appears in the glossy magazines, jet-setting around the world in a rather empty way - I was thinking perhaps of ex-queen Soraya in the 60s. And then as for the astronomers I had a pleasant time reading the articles on astronomy in the encyclopaedia picking up some ideas and some vocabulary and gradually I saw what this woman was doing and I think she was trying to find some function for herself, she was somebody who had been divorced because she couldn't have children and therefore was useless to the king, and so there she is in this world of scientists trying to find some sort of way of expressing herself when she's been brought up to do nothing except to please men.

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