[from “In the Underworld” by Paul “Whitberg” Burgess]
“There’s Henry, [king once Henry Number Seven
Departed, like a bird that’s migratory
To dwell in Hell, oblivion, or Heaven
…or maybe controversial Purgatory.
…Let’s hope his lucky number helped to leaven
His soul and make it rise to peaceful glory.
…Though what’s required of one who leads or reigns
Is apt to ‘merit’ everlasting pains.]
He was as cherished by the pious Pope
As grain is by a city-dwelling pigeon
‘Til his divorce received a papal ‘Nope’
[Which made him father Anglican religion.
With changed belief, some people couldn’t cope,
But, of remorse, he never felt a smidgeon.
One had to seem to ridicule and scorn
The system held supreme when he was born.
…In time, few people seemed to think it odd
To be eternally at war and strife
With those denying it was willed by God
To change a nation’s form of afterlife
Because a king desired a diff’rent broad
To serve his craving for a fertile wife.
“Divorce thee,” holy God was heard to say,
And England’s king was willing to obey.]
‘Three Cath’rine’s plus two Anne’s and Lady Jane‘
Is not a modern television show
Or lyrics to a musical refrain
But wives on Henry’s list. [Although not low,
The number might’ve soared if Henry’s reign
Weren’t ended by ‘the fate all undergo’
…which is a fancy way of saying ‘death’—
A state that’s known to take away one’s breath].
To torture, Henry’s shade is now subjected:
The Lord of Hades’ says, “The earthly plea
To be divorced must always be rejected.
The ring you gave to each on bended knee
Ensures your wives and you remain connected
Throughout the rest of cold eternity.”
I thought to ask if Henry’s wives approved,
But Will insisted it was time we moved.