The Halo Around the Throne – Melissa Snyder [Poems]

I love sharing new things I haven’t actually thought of on this site. So when Melissa (awesome name, by the way ;)) contacted me and shared her entire poetry series on Tudor Women, its safe to say I got pretty excited. Each of the poems has a link to her website posting, but if you’re interested in checking out Melissas site click here!

The Halo Around the Throne (Tudor Women Series)
Melissa Snyder

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“A Smile for a Kiss” (Mary Tudor, daughter of Henry VIII)

Will you kiss me?
Will you restore my smile?
It has gone running, fleeing from my lips.
Will you beckon it back? Cajole and convince it?
Tease it up from the corners of my mouth where it has hidden itself?
Will you make a bargain for its restoration?
Will you kiss me?
Will you trade that one moment of lips upon lips, mouth to mouth, breath briefly shared,
For a smile that will shine and shimmer like the sun?
A smile that will always appear for you, always greet you.
A smile that will be yours forever.
Will you trade with me?
A tenderness for a smile?
Will you kiss me?

Author’s Note: This is the first piece that has been inspired by the ladies of the Tudor dynasty. “A Smile for a Kiss” was inspired by Mary Tudor, eldest daughter of Henry VIII, who would become Queen Mary. As awful and bloody as history has shown her reign to be, I cannot help but pity this poor girl whose early life was fraught and whose desire for love thwarted at every turn.

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“Love Me as a Verb” (Anne of Cleves)

Will you love me?
Will you trade your freedom for a hand to hold and a shoulder to lean on for all of life?
For a heart to bear your burdens with you?
For a stalwart soul willing to stand in your defense and in belief of you?
For an equally strong mind to be your help meet through the storms?
Will you love me?
Will you cast aside the doubts that chip, the fears that chink at the armor we could forge together?
Will you let me see the parts of yourself that you hide away, and recognize the courage that it takes to show you mine?
Will you let me rule our world beside you? Will you let me share the burden of the sky upon your shoulders?
Will you seek me out rather than retreat in wrath? Will you reach for me rather than suffer tears alone?
Will you let me rejoice with you in glad times and mourn with you in dark ones?
Will let me rise alongside you to walk again, strong in ourselves and with each other?
Will you love me?
Will you let me love you?

Author’s Note: This is the second piece of the series, inspired by the genteel Anne of Cleves, short time wife of King Harry (and many say the luckiest one). I can see her saying this to any who would offer marriage to her, as a true test of their understanding of who she is and what it would mean to love and be loved by her.

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“Will You Hear Me?” (Queen Katherine of Aragon)

I stand like marble: sculpted, chiseled, and shaped from birth.
A stately form, grace running through me like veins of gold.
I am a Queen, born and bred,
Maintained by my own strength of will and force of destiny.
However, I speak not from authority, but from love, from devotion, and from hope.
Will you hear me?
I debase myself to ask, to plead, to beg.
I throw myself upon my knees, appealing to vain mercy.
Will you hear my words? Hear my heart, my weeping soul?
I will willingly do all of these but one.
I will not deny.
I will not deny myself. I will not deny my place.
I will not deny my royalty. I will not deny my crown.
I will not deny my daughter her place and pride.
I will cry from palace to hovel, from rooftop to grave.
I will shake the foundations of my royal legacy, from the Tower to the Alhambra,
To the roots of Heaven itself.
I will not deny who I am, whom I shall ever be!
Will you hear me?
Yes. You will hear me, and you will not forget.

Author’s Note: This piece is inspired by that lion of a woman, Catherine of Aragon, daughter of Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain, firstly wife to Arthur Tudor and then wife to Henry Tudor, who would become Henry VIII and create her Queen of England. All throughout Henry’s quest to divorce her after sixteen years of marriage, to put her away in disgrace and denial, Catherine refused to cooperate. She refused to be put away quietly, to recant her position as his “true wife”, or to give away her title as Queen and disinherit their daughter. She made sure her voice was heard, appealing to Henry himself in open court, and then sweeping from the proceedings with all the dignity and authority that she had spent her entire life holding in her right hand. Eventually, Henry went to great lengths to get what he wanted, but never once did Catherine capitulate and deny who she was.

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“All Shall Love Me and Rejoice” (Elizabeth I, Queen of England)

I am a lion.
You cannot deny my ferocity.
I am a scholar.
You will not deny my mind and my prowess.
I am a general
You cannot but praise my warrior heart and admit my kingly courage.
I am a prince.
You cannot deny my father’s blood, sound, and fury.
I am a woman.
My guile and cunning will circumvent yours every time.
I am a serpent.
I know the poison that sits in and pervades the hearts of those in my court and will prove mine more deadly.
I am a savior.
I bring light and freedom to the lives of my people. I leave men’s hearts and souls to them and to God.
But those hearts shall love me, shall revere me, shall fight for me.
I have fought for my place, I have outlived those who would deny me, I have rid the world of those who would supplant me.
I know Who I am.
I am a Queen.
I am The Queen.

Author’s Note: This is the fourth piece in a series inspired by the ladies of the Tudor dynasty. This is written from the viewpoint of Elizabeth I, the final member of the Tudor Dynasty. Once declared a bastard, she outlived all of those who would deny, disinherit, and decry her, eventually ascending the throne. Titled the Virgin Queen for her refusal to marry, she ushered in an era of learning, art, and ceiling shattering in what is now known as the Golden Age of England.

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“Will You Remember Me?” (Queen Jane Seymour)

Will you remember me?
When my life is cut short too soon? When I am gone before my time?
Will you cherish my memory?
Will you see that merry girl who served and smiled and laughed and danced?
Who cared and pitied and strove?
Will you remember me?
Know that my life has not gone unfulfilled.
I have given what I promised.
I have restored unity, family, love, brought what was broken together again.
I have given you what has been denied you all your kingly life: a son.
A bonny boy to carry your name.
Will you remember me?
I have given my life in the pursuit of your happiness.
I sought the care and good of our people, to spread light wherever I could.
You will remember what I have done.
They will call me “Good Queen Jane”. You will revere me as “wife”.
But will you remember me?

Author’s Note: This is the fifth piece in a series inspired by the ladies of the Tudor dynasty. As it would happen, I apparently lied inadvertently when I said that “All Shall Love Me and Rejoice” (Elizabeth I in triumphant declaration of her personage and position) was the final piece in my Tudor Ladies Series. As I considered it, a quiet voice began speaking to my memory and to my writing. That of Jane Seymour, the only woman, and queen, to do what Henry VIII most greatly desired: give him a son. The poor woman died in the attempt, leaving behind her son to an ambitious father who could not bear to be alone, conniving advisors who would turn the child into a push-me-pull-you in his later years, and a kingdom fraught with tumult. It was not a world made for such as Jane, but it was perhaps the world that needed her most of all. I felt such care and pity for her when she laid her storied hand on my shoulder and whispered, “Will you remember me?” that I could not leave her out of this august yet pitiable company of women.

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I'm a lover of all things Tudor, and historical - fiction or fact. My aim is to bring together writers of all calibers to share their work with like minded people!

2 thoughts on “The Halo Around the Throne – Melissa Snyder [Poems]

  1. Melissa –This is a very interesting project and the women you chose for the five poems are each shown in a sympathetic light, as if writing from their hearts. All were close to Henry VIII and each played her role in his reign, with Mary and Elizabeth, ruling in their own right, and I feel you have encapsulated the inner feelings of them all in relatively few words. The Tudor era is among the best known in English history, with Henry VIII possibly the most famous of the monarchs, but in some ways the females in his life overshadowed him and from Catherine of Aragon to Queen Elizabeth I, they have all made an impact for many different reasons.

    I have looked at your website and will keep a close eye on it for updates and wish you luck with all your future writing.

    Like

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