Former Herts salesman turned poet gets rave review from the Queen

PUBLISHED: 11:15 28 July 2020 | UPDATED: 11:39 28 July 2020

John Hollingsworth received a response from the Queen after sending her a sample of his poetry. Picture: Courtesy of John Hollingsworth

John Hollingsworth received a response from the Queen after sending her a sample of his poetry. Picture: Courtesy of John Hollingsworth

Archant

A former St Albans and Harpenden salesman turned poet has been personally thanked by the Queen for his “poignant verses”, after he sent her two of his poetic musings.

John Hollingsworth has been a keen writer for many years, having a talent for coming up with witty rhymes and verses in a matter of minutes.

However, a Lady in Waiting responded to John on behalf of Queen Elizabeth – a gesture he says has helped him gain more confidence ahead of him turning his lifelong hobby into a business.

The letter said: “The Queen wishes me to write and thank you for your poem in which you express your continuing loyalty and support for Her Majesty during the current situation.

“The Queen much appreciates your kind thought for her at this time, and hopes that you too are keeping safe and well.

“I am to thank you very much once again for your poignant verses.”

One of John’s poems was a reflection of the current coronavirus crisis, with the second being an ode to the Queen.

Part of his poem for the Queen read: “You’ve led us for years

Through good times and tears

You’re steady and calm

And kept us from harm

As many a Brit will profess

If we didn’t have you at the rudder, M’am,

We’d be all at sea in distress.”

The 63-year-old said: “I thought I’d be surprised if I got a response and it was good for my self esteem and it was really exciting.

“I’m really a wordsmith, I can make up a poem about anything.

“I worked in advertising for many years, but I’ve always been more into music, poetry and writing.

“I’ve also been writing bespoke poetry for forty years just giving it away and with my age and furloughing and the potential financial armageddon looming, I’m thinking I should be making a living out of this.”

His coronavirus poem, named ‘Not here, not now’, highlights that many coronavirus-related deaths were treated as numbers, and encourages the reader to remember the person.

John is in the process of creating a website for his new business, which will allow people to request bespoke poetry for any occasion.

In the meantime, he is contactable via 07739 425805, or at johnhollingsworth4157@gmail.com.

Elizabeth Regina

Belovèd Regina, there is no one finer to

Navigate ships in a storm

You place great insistence

On queenly consistence

And today, we don’t live in the norm

But you’ve always been there

With conscience and care

As we, your loyal subjects know

You don’t do denial, you’ll conquer that mile

The extra one, you will bestow

You’ve led us for years

Through good times and tears

You’re steady and calm

And kept us from harm

As many a Brit will profess

If we didn’t have you at the rudder, M’am,

We’d be all at sea in distress

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So long may you reign

And bad fortune disdain

Your parents would show so much pride

Were they with you today

They’d be shouting “Hooray!”

May longevity not be denied.

Not here, not now

I am not a number

I am a death….

I have waited all my life

For this wily scythe to arrive

Unannounced, unwarranted –

But not here, not now

The wisteria blossoms

For but a month –

I am intoxicated by the scent

The pendulous pink mauvish blush

Harbinger of a late spring rush

Before summer’s technicolour blaze

One I shall not see again, in my days

Not here, not now

I had a presence once –

A potential, a purpose to my path

Blithely, I passed this precious time we had –

Barely noticing the clock,

Far from the final bow

I thought –

Not here, not now

The best laid plans of dice and men

Cannot be foreseen

A gentle blow extinguishes the candle

The raven leaves the tower in silence

The wistful dying of a flower

Anticipates the calm before the storm

I didn’t want to leave, my friend,

I couldn’t foretell how you’d

Breathe, or grieve without me –

Still I’m not a number

I am a death, I cannot disavow

Was I ever ready?

No – not here, not yet, not now


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