A certain someone’s birthday

Now I couldn’t let this day go by without being marked, could I?

Happy Birthday to King Richard III of England – he would have been the grand old age of 563 today! Although I have to admit to finding those ‘would have been’ things sometimes a little daft…

Portrait of Richard III of England, painted c. 1520 (approximate date from tree-rings on panel), after a lost original, for the Paston family, owned by the Society of Antiquaries, London, since 1828. Source: Wikipedia.

Portrait of Richard III of England, painted c. 1520 (approximate date from tree-rings on panel), after a lost original, for the Paston family, owned by the Society of Antiquaries, London, since 1828.
Source: Wikipedia.

As you may have gathered, Richard is a bit of a hero of mine, despite me not quite being able to pin-point exactly when I became obsessed, and what started it. Even the most staunch Ricardian would have to admit that he was far from perfect (the ‘execution’ of William Hastings being one example).

It isn’t often that you get the chance to be at part of the funeral ‘celebrations’ for your favourite historical character, but in March of this year, that is exactly what I was able to do, and I found it the perfect weekend of inspiration to finish the draft manuscript I had been ‘editing’ (i.e. looking at every couple of weeks, trying to focus, being distracted by articles online then giving up in a strop) since November 2013, when I had produced the original version through NaNoWriMo.

Since then, it has been a ridiculously exciting adventure of having the novel accepted for publication by Crooked Cat Publishing, and a great editing experience as well – I feel I’ve learned a lot I can take forward into my future writing.

Another thing I have done since March is take part in NaPoWriMo – National Poetry Writing Month – and this April I did something a bit different, working with found poetry. I’d always vaguely known what this was, but never really spent any time on it, but in April, I produced thirty poems, all ‘found’ in one way or another, using the great prompts we were offered each day. There was cutting and sticking, playing with software, and colouring in, but I preferred the challenges where there was a bit more freedom to pick your own words. My friend kindly provided me with some academic papers, released following the now famous car park discovery, and I decided to spend most of my month thinking about Richard (because I don’t do that at all anyway). The following poem was one from that experiment.

The King under the Car Park

Source (with editing since April 2015): Morris, M. and Buckley, R. (2013) The King under the Car Park.

Archaeology is a fiendish jigsaw –
half the pieces missing, no picture to guide.
Richard III was 32 when he died.

On that fateful day, at Bosworth Field,
he saw his chance to win,
led out his cavalry charge.

Momentum appears to have been lost;
mired in marshland, the King cut down
as the tide of the battle turned.

Slung naked over the back of a horse,
paraded by triumphant Tudor,
the last Plantagenet King.

Dispatched on his return to Leicester –
a hurried burial: there is no coffin.
Out of sight, out of mind.

In the car park, she is surprised
to suddenly uncover a skull, arms, ribcage:
the feet are missing.

The spine is revealed – an unmistakeable ‘S’.
There are obvious wounds on the cranium.
The hands are crossed, as though tied.

Richard III was 32 when he died.

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Posted on October 2, 2015, in Historical fiction, History, Kindred Spirits, Poetry, Richard III, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Reblogged this on Crooked Cats' Cradle and commented:

    A celebration of my historical hero, and leading man…

    Like

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