Gene Dixon
Gene Dixon
Gene Dixon
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"Sweet Catherine, I choose you for my bride.
Leave Aragon; as England's queen abide."
And so her soft consent she gladly gave.
But when no son would come to claim the throne,
'Round royal neck she turned, a miller's stone.
And Henry played the part of high-born knave.
       He sent her hence to live in towers cold,
       And of her life from thence sad tales were told.

"Young Anne, thy countenance is comely fair,
If you will dance, I will compose the air."  
Her dainty feet delighted in his tune.
Elizabeth was all the child she wrought,
So all the dancing done just went for naught.
The eager in his eye led to her ruin.
       She strode in silent splendor to the sword
       And bled reluctant homage to her lord.

"John Seymour, send your daughter, Jane, to me."
And gladly did John heed his sovereign's plea.
Jane's time began with full and hopeful heart.  
To Henry's great delight, a son was born.
Prince Edward now relieved the King's forlorn.
Blessings on this King God did impart.
       Jane strove to bear a proper Tudor heir,
       In striving, rent her heart beyond repair.

From Cleves, a portrait came and thus began
The story, sadly told, of Lady Anne.
She brought with her no more than quiet grace.
In time too short, he named her, "Flander's Mare."
Pinned unbecoming ribbons in her hair.
Hid not the scorn he showed upon his face.
       Her visage never caused a minstrel's singing.
       The marriage died with wedding bells still ringing.

Catherine Howard stepped upon the scene
And eagerly agreed to be the Queen.
They say she had a sailor's roving eye.
The game she played was fraught with death and danger.
She turned the King from lover into stranger.
He barely gave her leave to say goodbye.
       In heavy shame she mounted to the ax
       And paid upon demand the gruesome tax.

Now comes the dusk to this most fateful life.
He seeks the comfort of a loving wife.
So Catherine Parr will sit at Henry's side.
A quiet calm to court with her she brought,
Though sovereign love she said she never sought.
Was Catherine Queen? Let history decide.
       While night approached, she held his aging hand
       As Henry's glass forthwith ran out of sand.

Additional Notes:

r. = "reigned" - (1509 - 1547 
marks the time of Henry VIII's  ascension to the throne to his death.)

- a bit of doggerel .used to call to mind the fates of Henry's wives -  I'm not sure of its origin.

The Sean Side of Gene
The Statue of St. Joan, In the Park, In the Snow

The whole of her is golden - armor, shield, sword. 
As if granting her gold made up for the fire, except,
after all these years standing alone, 
in the park, in the snow,
she stays cold.
White epaulets grace her shoulders.
Snowflakes gather and melt
in the corners of her eyes, like tears
shed centuries ago.

Standing at the pedestal,
watching the gentle snow gather on her helmet
like wedding lace,
I can almost hear the saints who sang to her
the night she married God.
"Jeanne, Jeanne, prennet l'epee et sauvegardent la France!"
"Joan, Joan, take the sword and save France!"

I can almost hear her cry out to the Dauphine.
"Vous etes roi, dit ainsi Dieu!"
"You are king, so says God!"

I can almost hear the cardinal bless her with flames.
"Elle es du diable, la lui envoient!"
"She is from the devil, send her to him!"

I can almost taste her dying breaths
as the fire licked at her life.
"Mon Seigner,
 mon pays revient a votre couer,
 mes retours d'ame a votre amour!"
"My Lord,
 my country returns to your heart,
 my soul returns to your love!"

She stands in winter,
all gold and wedding lace.
I can almost hear the saints
singing soft suggestions.
I can almost taste the snowflakes,
falling from Joan's eyes like tears,
in the park, in the snow.
r.  1509-1547

Six Hearts for Henry

A Tale in Six Octets

The Players (in order of appearance)   (and exit)

                      Henry VIII 
                      Catherine of Aragon
                      Anne Boleyn
                      Jane Seymour
                      Anne of Cleves
                      Catherine Howard
                      Catherine Parr

Within the greystone's shadowed gloom,
the castle keep, a candled room,
confined as in an early tomb,
the Lady faces Fate.

Sand in glass to mark her time.
Scaffold steps to mark her climb.
Her soul to God, her tale to rhyme;
what's left to contemplate?

Edward quickly breathed his last.
As king, his role was sore miscast.
A child within an empire vast,
he could not navigate.

Little spent of life's good youth,
Jane's royal right both lie and truth,
urged on by Lords of questioned couth
and lust for high estate.

The vacant throne within their grasp,
ignoring Jane's astonished gasp.
The bride secured like lock in hasp,
leave nothing to debate.

In truth, it's Mary's time to reign.
Her Faith, his Lordship does disdain.
"She's linked to Rome by golden chain,
yoked by Papal weight!"

Elizabeth, in silence stands.
Her heart held in her sister's hands.
She quietly meets all demands
as princess surrogate.

Two maids dishonored by design.
"No queen descends from concubine!"
Jane stands in falsehood's royal line
to claim the English state

Nine days she wore the English crown.
Nine days before the lie fell down.
Who now to play the royal clown?
Whose life to confiscate?

Grim tidings to the Lady Grey.
Tomorrow is your dying day.
Your name etched deep into the clay
of London Tower's gate.

Within the greystone's shadowed gloom,
the castle keep, a candled room,
sits there Queen Jane, a fading bloom,
her sin to expiate.
Gene Dixon
Man of Many Hats Pg 2
Gene Dixon
Historical Poems
Gene Dixon
Man of Many Hats
Nine Days a Queen - The Lady Jane Grey