They were wrong about Richard III
They were wrong about Richard III.
His spine was straight, his shoulders level.
One arm as long and strong as the other.

No calliper, no gross boot used he.
The Earl of Gloucester, much maligned by history.

Machiavellian he may have been - no more than, say,
Michael Heseltine when sending young men to their deaths.
Remembering, too, they were days when man or woman could gain
Preferment but, if chance would have it,
By the same action gain, instead, four inches - on the rack.

They say he howled at the moon
And, with little Edward - Richard too,
On either hand, led them to a high room -
Almost forgotten
And, snatching up a gold-embroidered pillow said:
"Come, my little sparrows - let's play Princes in the Tower."

But this is history told by lesser men
Or squeezed inside the mangle of conjecture, feeding fresh
The poet's eager pen.
He was no angel, this much is true,
But more a monster than the present crew
Whose claws are dripping blood five centuries on?
I doubt it - the coinage of ambition is not spent.

History, like the fabled ogre's spine, is bent.
Let this be the winter of his discontent -
They were wrong about Richard III.


Jim Costello