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Henry X: Five Sonnets

Henry Viii crown_n



It only takes one night, you see. And so
it went with the sneaky king, humping Anne’s
handmaid by lamplight centuries ago.
She fled back to Kleve, lived out stinging pain
of years, my forbears holding our secret.
Grandfather waded back to London, clerked
an ale house, gave me this old gold locket
passed down in secret. No sly foe will jerk
it from my neck now. I bided my time
till Libor and subprimes melted us all
yet again; tried bankers scum for their crimes,
hanged them all, led revolt—answered the call
to rule. And now reveal myself, dissent
a mute void in our pill-filled parliament.

September 27, 2013



I take this crown, rightful heir deemed by God,
and pledge rule based on honest words and deeds —
mandate to myself, to all souls who trod
within our borders. Whoever lies, bleeds.
Whoever harms, hangs. I will bring you peace.
We will not invade, nor be invaded.
Deceit in parliament, in courts, will cease.
I dissolve both now, assure degraded
morals won’t return. Promise you a new
constitution, formed by you, the people —
each county sending writers picked by you.
Choose wisely — seers with insight and scruples.
I will assure this is true: Where our clear
path may lead…is up to you. Never fear.

September 29, 2013



Can a king nurture near democracy?
This king does and will. This is real, no dream.
Our document should hold one vital key:
The right for us all to free-flowing streams.
I speak of water, your own basic right
for home, for farm on which our food depends.
I speak of speech, all we say and teach, cite
in ideas and art; no force contend
with press or Internet. In all we think
and write, freedom to praise, to criticize,
to find solutions, always on the brink
of change — protect and grow each others’ lives.
Free-flowing streams are our greatest treasure —
in all we do, first and final measure.

September 30, 2013



An honest king requires an honest heart.
You complete my heart. You, my dearest friend.
Will you stay my friend? Will you walk all parts
of this great land with me? Stay till the end?
Touch our peoples’ hearts? Clasp their caring hands?
What’s required of kings and queens only God
can measure: nurture how we serve, command,
consent, defend, preserve this precious sod;
work with all to benefit all as best
we attend. Will you be my queen…our queen?
My one lover? Discover what great quests
lie ahead? I vow this to you: to sow
love in all ways, in all ways help you grow.

October 2, 2013



For years I’ve honored this from our great Bard:
Love all. Trust a few. Do harm to none.
Above all, I seem to trust you. It’s hard
sometimes. Yet when I watch your eyes, human
and beyond, hear your words, witness follow
through… I’ve read the great books, like you; held close
Aristotle’s care for phrases; allowed
More’s utopia, James’ call for faith; chose
to follow these with action…Yes, I’ll walk
this unknown path with you; pause and reach down,
grasp this fertile earth; listen and weigh talk;
value all we do together… show crowns
are signs of care… Sit with me now. Watch streams
of stars above. Kiss me. Whisper your dreams.

October 4, 2013




Roger Armbrust

Roger Armbrust's articles and columns have covered labor and management, Congressional legislation, and federal court cases, including appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court. He formerly served as national news editor of Back Stage in New York City, where he also taught a professional writing course at New York University. His recent book of sonnets -- oh, touch me there: Love Sonnets -- is available from Amazon and other book sites. He is an associate curator of The Clyde Fitch Report. He is also co-founder and co-curator of reality: a world of views.

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