Ode to Rosalind


Travel back to 1912, the year when an Albertan named Rosalind was crowned Butter Queen of the British Empire. The Red Deer Board of Trade organized a festive and formal banquet to honor this Jersey Queen. The guest list included many distinguished politicians and illustrious businessmen like Mr. Edward Michener, MPP; Dr. Rutherford of the Canadian Pacific Railway; and the Hon. Duncan Marshall, Minister of Agriculture.

Members of the Press were invited to the banquet and used news wire services to launch Rosalind’s international fame. Word of her feat spread beyond Alberta.

People in North America and all over the British Empire fell in love with this cow.

Rosalind won the title because of the volume of her milk production and its high butterfat content. Over three years, Rosalind produced 38,000 pounds of milk, yielding 2,500 pounds of butterfat. She held the title for four years in a row.

Butter Queen of the British Empire,
Time and circumstance
Have passed you by.

Like so many queens
Your reign was brief,
Your fame
A passing fancy.

But you were like no other.

Born of good breeding,
You were elevated to
Butter Queen of the British Empire,
A coronation, at the tender age of four.

Oh, how you were feted!
A banquet in your honour,
Your photograph gracing
The menu card.

Attended by dignitaries
Of Business, State, and Empire.
The speeches,
Eloquent and flattering.

Oh, how proud
Red Deer, Alberta,
Was that day.
Thrust into
The international scene
By no other than you.

Two sonnets,
Over eighteen hundred articles
In U.S. papers alone.

(But, alas,
no more
than you

No more
than befitting
One named by
Shakespeare, himself.)

Toasted with
Your very own
Sweet drink.

You, a vegetarian,
Beef on the menu.
Oh, how you handled it
With royal grace.

Born a colonial,
But, truly
Upper crust.

Modern Times
Have not been kind
To your descendents.

Marred by margarine,
Battered by BSE,
Some would cull
Your progeny.

Oh, Rosalind,
Lovely Lady.
The world awaits
the return
of one as wonderful
as you.

– Rose Marie Sackela

© Rose Marie Sackela, First North American rights. Rose Marie Sackela is a poet and humorist who lives way out — rural. She travels Alberta, reading, writing and researching in libraries, archives and private homes. With a nod to the real Rosalind, her new favorite food is butter cream icing.