Katherine Parr Receives a Marriage Proposal from King Henry VIII

Alice-Catherine Jennings


12 April 1543


Stopped mid-motion in the middle of what

we call our life, I look up and see no sky –

only ageless shades of fear, a killing cold, dark

wood. I pause in the middle of this tight knot,

and consider the roulette that put me on death’s

road.  I have not the bitch-kitty face the King

doth like nor do I tremble when he glances down

at me. Why has Minos coiled his snake-like

tail and sent my soul so low? Abandon

hope, all wives who enter here.


Alighieri, Dante. The Inferno. Translated by Mary Jo Bang.

Alice-Catherine Jennings is a Texas-based poet with an interest in European history and arts. She holds an MFA in Writing from Spalding University. Her poetry has appeared in various publications including Hawai’i Review, Penumbra, The Louisville Review, Boyne Berries, GTK Creative, The Poets’ Republic, and First Literary Review East.

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