I was a scholar at a grammar school
founded by Henry VIII after he had
dissolved the monasteries, stolen their land,
destroyed their hospitals, tortured the odd
abbot or two and trousered their cash and plate.
The school, a Victorian extension
of the original, was ‘in the shadow
of the cathedral’, as the head would say –
an Anglican canon, MA Oxon.
There was, in the Canon’s dismal study,
a portrait of the priapic monarch.
The reverend would order those he caned –