Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2010

Anne Neville 1456 –1485

by Ruth Stacey

A ball tossed between men’s hands,
Quickly held and then thrown as if too hot.

A slender reed to be woven,
Thatched into whichever family were rising.

A red rose, a white rose,
And between them, one blushing girl.

The enemy now becomes our ally,
Marriage and I am now a princess.

An arrangement seldom blossoms,
But this fierce prince seduced my heart.

He wound my hair around my limbs,
Binding me with long lengths,

So I lay utterly still as he entered me,
Like a trembling doe, adoring him.

Too brief, our loving was counted by stars,
In fleeting, idyllic nights.

Then brutal men decided battles,
Must be fought and death must win.

My prince cut down like a sapling,
The tide ebbs and flows to York.

Gloucester may well be the man,
Who murdered my ardent Prince,

Such a union is odious and desperate,
But it is the only clear pathway.

Protection and ambition combine,
Loveless, yet a throne may satisfy.

I lie utterly still in our marriage bed,
He has my body but not my head.

Added: 21.04.2010

Judges' comments on this poem


Clear, concise imaginative treatment of a historic subject.