Overreaching

by Rachel Keeling

Naive Katherine Howard was a puppet on a string,
When the Duke resolved she would soon be marrying.
Sent off to court, the budding rose to be,
Caught rapt Henry’s attention for queen and world to see.
The Duke had reached and grasped, it seemed princely favour once again,
When a wife became a sister, to the Flanders mare’s chagrin.
Soon the banners rose again, the bells proclaiming loud,
That the sovereign’s bride was young and fresh, a virgin still and proud.
But though the teenage Queen had vowed to her own purity,
Many men had seen and known her coveted beauty.
Gifts and gowns the King, in love lavished on his maid,
Until he learnt, in rabid rage of her privy night parade.
Pruned and bound for Tower green was the new made rose,
Yet still she reached for Rex, a plea upon her tongue in dire desperate prose.
But, alas beheaded was the pawn become a queen,
Like her cousin, death came in wrath upon the pristine Tower Green.
Katherine Howard overreached herself, forgetting one small thing,
If one wants life within the court, one had best delight the king.