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Friday, 1 February 2019

TO MY ANGELIC STEPMOTHER, a poem by Thomas Hoskyns Leonard



                                                 TO MY ANGELIC STEP MOTHER

                                      As Gwen lies ageless in her peaceful nursing home,

                                      I recall meeting her when she to fair Madison did roam,

                                     Yon thirty-four years with Capt'n Cecil,

                                     The Farmers' Market on the Capitol Square then so peaceful.

                                     And we from above the wild Mississippi at Winona did peer

                                     At forty miles of wondrous bliss 

                                     From Wyalusing to Lake Pepin, and beyond,

                                     Where the paddleboats and barges sped like ducks,

                                     And Nature itself was once conspired,

                                     Around Wisconsin she would drive us,

                                    Automatic and gearless, no less;

                                    Devil's Lake and Fish Creek we equally blessed,

                                    And aways to Yellowstone, Cancun, and  New York New York,

                                    They sometimes went.

                                    And when nine days by Fisherman's Wharf we spent,

                                    The San Fran cable cars for 15 cents

                                     Through Chinatown received full vent.

                                    The Japanese tea garden, Cliff House,  and Marin County 

                                    Were among Gwen's favourite haunts

                                    Particularly when the maroon double decker took us on a jaunt

                                   When I returned to Jannerland in Fall of 95,

                                  Gwen and Cecil in their tiny cottage in

                                  Ancient Plympton lived,

                                  Where Leonards from Roberts once sprung.

                                  Captain of Plympton Woman's Bowling Team,

                                  Mother of three generations,

                                  She flew like Daedalus, when eighty, in Japan,

                                  And cherished my dear father.

                                  When both blind and deaf was he.

                                 Maybe it was at Auntie Vera's final party at Uncle John's

                                That we last met,

                                Or at Cawsands and the plush Barbican,

                                When Brod brought in his trans-Atlantic wreck,

                                And my family were in total bonhomie

                                 And then she became the voice on the long distance phone.

                                The one on whom I could rely;

                                 Our eternal friendship nobody can deny.




  1. A heartfelt poem Tom. There can't be many poems to stepmothers. I wonder if dropping the slightly archaic language might improve it eg inversions like 'was he' and phrases like 'wondrous bliss' so that a more modern, more natural style was achieved.

  2. Thank you for these comments, Virgilio. I guess that my style is sometimes deliberately archaic. It is anyway essential to compose from the heart