Thursday, June 11, 2009

Royal Pain

This week's readwritepoem prompt asked us to imagine an encounter with an historical figure. I've had Henry VIII on the brain lately...

I would go back in time
and teach you about Xs and Ys
and why your daughters
were your design, not
failures of your wives

And how they more
than lived, they thrived,
ruled after the passing of
your son, with daughters
there may be damage done
but they pick up their
skirts and carry on

One called bloody,
one called virgin,
neither of them
produced a son
both failures by
the standards you set
with daughters, you’d say,
that’s what you get

And yet each was stronger
than her brother
one lived to avenge
her pious mother
the other looked back
and saw the signs
a woman who rules
forgets the moon and tides

Unlike you she refused
to come undone
and place all her hopes,
in an imagined son.

All glory to the unwanted
daughter! Whose power
eclipses that of her father.


  1. I love how densly packed this poem is with internal rhyme. For example, time / Ys / why / wives / thrived. Then you move into the "o" sounds with bloody / one / son / brother / mother / other. You've spaced everything just right to the sound doesn't overwhelm the poem. It's lovely.

  2. Just the kind of discussion I'd want to have myself. I especially like "teach you about Xs and Ys" ... gets right to the heart of it.

  3. Even today, daughters are unwanted in some parts of the world. This poem is so relevant for the present times too.

    dance baby, dance

  4. WOW! WOW! WOW!
    I love the lines "and saw the signs/ a woman who rules/ forgets the moon and tides" and the the last stanza, which knocks my socks off.
    And to top it off, the oh-so-perfect title. Kudos, Erin!

  5. I love this, Erin! Your mind works in mysterious and marvelous ways!

  6. NICE! *applause* Good job with this one. And I agree with Gautami - this message is even relevant today. The value of girls...cannot be underestimated.

  7. This is so wonderful! I have a bit of an obsession for Henry's daughters :-). I love every line.

  8. Oh, I love this!
    I'm a bit obsessed myself with all that royalty business. I've got the dvd of The Boleyn Sisters, laying here...waiting for me to watch it.

    It is infuriating, though...and it is so interesting to read between the lines of what we're told and what we know--as women--to be true when you look back at the past. I'm really intrigued by Elizabeth I, too. She was quite amazing...

    But anyway--good poem! I'd like to tell that old man a thing or two myself...


  9. Dana-Thanks very much. This is the way I do rhyme. I'm not very good at regular rhyming patterns.

    Deb-I'm glad you liked the Xs and Ys.

    Guatami- You make such a good point. In many parts of the world, this kind of thinking is still prevalent.

    Raven's Wing-Thanks for the applause!

    Annie and Angie-so glad you share my obsession!

  10. I love the sounds of the poem; it's a great one to read aloud!

  11. Hello Erin,

    I have found myself here via RWP, a port I call into but don't often pick up the challenge! Your poem is great.

    I love the Tudor period. Henry's behaviour is fascinating; totally unreasonable by today's standards but vitally important then. But the ladies got the last laugh!

    Really enjoyed my visit.

  12. Hi Derrick and welcome! I'm glad you stopped by and enjoyed your visit. It's nice to find another Tudor fan. Well, I'm not sure if fan is the word, but you know what I mean...

  13. more applause to you Erin...nicely done...Is the weather hot and dry down Spokane way?..sure is up here....we need RAIN

  14. Hi Wayne. We've had a bit of rain around here during the past week, but mostly it's been dry. We may have some rain and thunderstorms tomorrow. Maybe they will make their way up to you...