Triple portrait of Charles I, by Sir Anthony Van Dyck
Unearthly creature! Are you for real
or some fairy-tale Being wholly surreal?
Just look at those sad and brooding eyes
that augur misfortune borne of self-lies,
and I swear that could I but hear your voice
you'd lament the error of future choice.
Still and tranquil at first glance,
and then such turmoil in your stance.
Oh see that leaden gathering cloud
draped about you like burial shroud.
So desperately your mind is reaching out
to escape a destiny forged by self-doubt.
How is that one of such mollycoddled descent -
a Dandy of glittering palaces - be sent
to govern a nation in chaotic upheaval,
one so ill-equipped to deal with evil?
Ha, did you really believe that fable
the "Divine Right of Kings" would keep things stable?
How dare they disobey your will
and so many of your troops kill
that fateful day upon Edge Hill
that the whole of England remembers still?
You could have had it made that day,
but through indecision threw victory away.
Just how many more had to die before
you realised no solution would come through war?
They demanded democracy, you turned them down flat -
you were the King, and that was that.
A King's word had always been law of the land,
until Cromwell and his ever growing band
of followers who became the "New Model Army"
pre-empted your moves and drove you barmy.
Well, along with frustration came childlike tantrum:
no longer would be tolerated this rebellious scum!
Stuttering and cursing these "Enemies of God"
you attempted to over them ride rough-shod.
But, unfortunately for you, it badly misfired:
many of your allies had defected, it transpired,
and now the country had it's King on trial!
Such a thing was unheard of, you were in deep denial.
When they read out the sentence...tyrant, traitor,
and public enemy...you faced the prosecutor
and made one final attempt to speak.
But they cut you short - your fate now looked bleak.
Just three short days you were granted to prepare
to meet your maker - oh the utter despair.
Then outside Whitehall on that January day
by executioner's axe you were spirited away...
Perhaps there's good reason that the great Van Dyck
painted in triplicate this portrait so like
your tragic countenance that haunts me today:
to the Holy Trinity I'm inclined to pray
and plead for deliverance for this fractured Soul,
that three parts be forged once more into whole.