The Milliners' Collective

Birtles’ poem opens Royal Ascot 2014

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Absolutely fabulous news for racing as Joanna Lumley read Henry Birtles’s Ascot poem to open Channel 4’s coverage of Royal Ascot 2014.

“The theme is Great British Drama and what an honour to have Joanna Lumley put her voice to the poem I wrote for this year’s Royal Meeting,” said Birtles, speaking in 2014.

You can watch the film here.

Royal Ascot by Henry Birtles

Upon this striking Heath a joyful throng shall once again with eagerness descend

Whose deafening voice will rise and fall in tune with fate’s irregular decree

Upon these lawns a million dreams will clash and find their waking judgements end

As victory and defeat both fight it out for all the sporting universe to see

Upon this Turf, a stage is set to celebrate today and all that’s past

Where names of those long gone, yet still revered,

Once nailed their famous colours to the mast

Where Queens and Kings have also felt the thrills

Some might just think exclusive to their own

And everyone here gathered understands through this and more,

Our history shines so gloriously alone

Upon my soul this burst of every shade an alchemist could possibly conceive,

Enlivens spirits for the Racing feast that lies ahead

And weaves this Royal Ascot week a tapestry

Great British Drama brightly laced with reams of endless multi-coloured thread.


To read more about Birtles and his work see

Read our interview with Henry Birtles here.




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