Three Kings

Upon blood-red thread
the children count and read
the loom above knobbly knees
the destiny of future kings —
it lay await in threes.

Like hunted hares entranced
they did in unison intone
the prophecy of triple princes
and the twice usurped
Great Throne.

First a lecher, gambler
a mincing useless fop:
the king of tawny, silken dress
on velvet cushions atop

From which he fell easily
replaced by Number Two:
a severe monarch bent on terror
who whittled his enemies to few

Until a pox stole his breath
and a boy ascended that mighty, vacant chair
he of little wit and dangerous, foolish dare.

A fall from grace –
He died for an apple
on an old gnarled tree
and that was to be the end
of the Kingdom
and of King Number Three.