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Poetry Pleases: Thomas Becket

William Ruleman imagines the thoughts of Henry II following the murder of Thomas Becket.

THOMAS BECKET

(as spoken by Henry II right after the murder)

We had the fondest of friendships, you and I—
Hilarious hunting, the wildest women . . . Wine, song.
Just so much waste, you thought, of wayward youth.

But must a life so delicious have to die?
To shun such random beauty seems so wrong!
How tedious, thereafter, your toast to “truth.”

If you’d stayed chancellor, we could have had a blast.
Church, State combined—it was brilliant—in one shrewd man!
We’d have had God in the bag, as these things go.

You had to go pure on me, though, and “fast.” And “pray.”
Just had to go meddling, mucking about in “God’s plan.”
Those barons you banished to Hell were good friends, you know.

I managed to see that all your antics ceased.
Will I ever be rid of you, though, you pest of a priest?

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