On the Eve of the Departure of Anne from Cleves

Nobody can tell you how it is. No amount
of provincial duchy living can prepare
you for the crossing, the preferences
for boxy headwear in this post-Boleyn
world. No one can tell you how to react
(with a modicum of modest maidenly delight,
it turns out) when he appears, stumping in
disguised as a messenger, as if he is still
nineteen, still Katherine of Aragon’s
Sir Loyal Heart, still as fine a specimen
of learned humanist virility as you are likely
to find in all of Christendom. No one can
prepare you for the smell of him, the stink
of suppurating ulcers compounding a
constant bouquet composed of herbal
possets and boar meat. Your portrait,
sent ahead of you, will be called false
advertising, the arrangement displeasing
enough to send once trusted advisors
to the block. No one can tell you this.
You arrive as you are, untrained, unseemly
by their standards. No one has taught
you the witty banter so prized by the court.
But you’ve been taught to play cards well
enough to know that your mannerisms
must not divulge your hand, lest you lose
something else. You will have to tell yourself
to keep cheerful countenance, to feign
ignorance of what goes where, to readily
agree to honorary sisterhood in place
of a crown on a head you will get to keep.

One response to “On the Eve of the Departure of Anne from Cleves

  1. Patty DesRochers

    Narrative poetry, with irony – I like!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s