Issue 8,  Poetry

First Blot by Juliette van der Molen

two treaties1,
two sides,
three deeds 
& signatures for
them all, allowed
by the future queen-dauphin,
everyone’s docile little paragon.

in the beginning, it is love
and light and never the possibility
that anything could turn dark,
here in the glittering court
of my adoptive country.

how is it you say there is
a blot, the first blot
(of many) on my character,
as if I would wish away the
country of my birth into
oblivion? I am guided, as
women should be, by those
who know best, by those in
power. 

I, gowned magnificently,
earth bound only at the weight
of my crown, have learnt
well to sign regal documents,
composed prettily in five letters:
            M A R I E2.

these my first treaties, most 
language not needed, simple assurances
for those who are less faithful than I,
knowing this marriage is the will of
God, a command from the divine.

tell me, what was your life at the
tender age of fifteen? If I hand you
my education, my gender and understanding
of the world, can you honestly say
you would handle it differently?


1. Prior to the marriage of Mary to Francis, there were two marriage treaties she signed. One was public and contained all of the usual language of the day. The second was private and made many concessions due to the fact that Scotland was considered the lesser of the two kingdoms and fortunate to be watched over by France.

In the event of Mary’s death without heirs, Scotland would be effectively ruled by France. (Fraser, A. Mary Queen of Scots.)

2. All of her life, the Queen signed her documents with this French variant of her name in carefully spaced capital letters, all of the same size.  (Fraser, A. Mary Queen of Scots.)

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Juliette van der Molen is an ex-pat poet living in Wales. She is an intersectional feminist and member of the LGBTQ+ community. Her work has appeared in The Wellington Street Review, Nightingale & Sparrow, Burning House Press and several other publications. Her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize (2018) and Best of The Net (2019). Juliette is also the Poetry Editor for Mookychick Magazine. She is a spoken word performer and has had the honour of appearing in several venues in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Her books include: Death Library: The Exquisite Corpse Collection, Mother May I? and  Anatomy of A Dress. 

You can connect with her via Twitter @j_vandermolen

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