In March, I was lucky enough to gain one of the places at Compline, to be in Leicester Cathedral when Richard III’s body was received into the Cathedral, ahead of his funeral services. This poem was written after the service.
A drink to Richard
Leicester Central Travelodge is allegedly built on the site
of the old White Boar Inn, the final place
where Richard lay his head, to rest,
before Destiny called him to Bosworth.
He apparently “slept ill in strange beds,”
filling the inn’s “large, gloomy chamber”
with his own great bed.
Tonight, in the bar, I sip red wine, think
about ‘my’ Richard – the man, not the myth –
who had a troubled night, here, fretting,
about what danger may lie ahead.
My mind wanders back to the cathedral,
where he now lies, guarded, waiting
for his true final rest.
Later, crawling between pristine sheets,
I wonder what became of his, abandoned,
as England turned to harsh blood red.
Did one shield him, at the end, protecting
what dignity he had been allowed to keep?
He could have had one of mine, I think,
as I switch off the light,
descend into sleep.