Poem: Twelfth Day of February

Banner - floor marker in St Peter ad Vincula at the Tower of London

· 12 February 2020 ·
[Short semi-elegy in mostly trochaic tetrameter]

I found myself thinking about the rhyme

  • Lizzie Borden took an axe
  • Gave her mother forty whacks
  • When she saw what she had done
  • Gave her father forty-one

Something to do with the axe I expect, today being what it is. The situations are not analogous but an axe is an axe, so I let the dog run.

Twelfth Day of February

  • On this date in Fifty-Four
  • Jane Grey’s head fell to the floor
  • Husband’s head had fallen first
  • While Jane her scaffold speech rehearsed
  • Then her father’s, two weeks later
  • He had been the instigator
  • Part of Young Tom Wyatt’s plot to
  • Somehow force Queen Mary not to
  • Import Spanish Phil to wed.
  • Unsuccessful. Traitors: dead.
  • Mary’s council, though irate
  • Was unable to implicate
  • Elizabeth in all of this
  • Disloyalty to her half-sis

©2020 @edevere17 all rights reserved

It wants to metamorphose into iambs in a couple of places, and the Latin gets a metrical pass. Henry Grey, 1st Duke of Suffolk, went to the block on the 23rd of the month, only eleven days after his daughter and son-in-law, but eleven squawked at being contracted into a monosyllabic ’lev’n. Three extra days falls within the bounds of poetic licence. I’ve gotten away with much worse.

VERO NIHIL VERIUS