The king of love my shepherd is

August 19, 2015

Meg went to the Tower,
somehow passed the halberds
of the Yeomen of the Guard
to embrace once more the father
whose hair shirt she washed,
whose “wholesome counsel
and virtuous example” she received,
whose mind and person she loved.

Not Holbein’s Chancellor
but an El Greco saint,
he was led out
carrying his red cross,
emaciated and ready.
He reminded the axe man
his neck was short,
asked him not to miss.
Then put that noble neck
in the arc of the block,
and the great, wedge axe
lopped off his blessed head.
Faithless Henry had it put
on a pike on London Bridge,
a horrible deterrent to
heroic silence.

At what cost and courage
Margaret rescued it,
carried it home to Canterbury,
buried it by St. Dunstan’s Church.
How often did she gaze from home
across to the church yard, longing
for the King whose name is love,
Whom she, and we, still await?