Iona's Hair

There are many historians who dispense a soporific virtue; a minority will keep you turning the tea leaves, burning the midnight newspaper.  If you want a really good story about the king they found ensconced in a parking lot recently, look no further than Paul Murray Kendall's Richard III.  How the Kendallian image of this chap diverges from the Earl of Oxford version (oh wait - I mean Shakespeare) !  Of course, the Tudors had it in for the Earl of Gloucester.  I think the city of York still likes the guy - as well they should, according to Kendall.  Plus there's a passage in the book which goes thoroughly into fishgarths.


The s-curved spine of attainted king
snakes up from parking lot.
Not Prospero, not quite
Macbeth.  The plot’s the thing

for knucklebones.  Woodvilles & Nevilles
in the nether woods – phosphorus
Warwick, glowing in the dust.
Someone’s gotta pay the bills

for Renaissance magnificence.
The wolfish gusto of these
alpha bĂȘtes!  Rimini’s
laird, Ezra’s ravening prince –

shades in the hollows of Sherwood,
old artifacts of violence.
How did we survive this?
How will we yet?  Pappy understood,

somehow – head bowed with meekness
to a mud-stained plow.
All yang, no yin, was how
blind stick-up men went down.  No sense

of the spider’s tensile teetering
with dewy tread, on thread...
black widow’s offspring (death’s-
head remonstrance for buccaneering

sports).  Be with me, Columba,
bright dove-bird padre
from cloud-slopes of Eire.
Proud kings lie hidden in Iona’s hair.


Remains of King Richard III

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