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Tuesday, 12 November 2019

ODE TO VALYA

                                                                       




ODE TO VALYA

by Thomas Hoskyns Leonard 


Dedicated to my ex-wife Valerie Leonard

Composed during March 2017



As noble Valya in brave Harlech on her feather bed reclines

Contemplating the waves of life, and the divine,

Tamiko in fair Embro like a Dumnonian stallion sits, and reflects

On the half lifetime since the mighty Wisconsin wrench,

The marriage of '69 born in stress, lived in stress, dissected in stress,

The evil aunt of the faceless faithless youth,

The next, confused lad, the one who did not walk away,

His threefold undiagnosed suffering that took the fabric away;

Alas, that which even as yet must remain known but unsaid,

As images of rugby, and school-kid bullying, devour his once blocked mind

The misdirected homophobia at Warwick which drove him out,

And destroyed his life and marriage beyond all doubt,


And yet, through the generations of anguish God's vitality emerges:

Valya's valiant exploits the Economics of Russia to progress,

Her brilliant teaching of Wulfrunian fame,

Tamiko's dark-comical, curtailed career

As he crass Bayesians towards practicality diverts,

Placid Hera's immersement in Capitalism to earn her bread,

Mercurial Sonya's contributions to medicine and the law,

Two fine sons-in-law who forbear,

Cheerful Chuck as he towards college with 11 GCSEs progresses,

Mei Liang, Chinese Goddess of the Wirral, painstakingly does study,

And from the spectrum, handsome Harry springs,

Ever ready to sprout his wings.


Alas, Tamiko by a lifetime of A.D.D. was debilitated,

And now he weeps in his tiny flat for the companion whose Aspergers both destroys,

Stretches his hand to Harlech, and cries,

Hail, gentle Valya. Your life, your family devotion, your achievements,

I admire.'


On the Norfolk Broads, in Tenby, and in Aberystwyth did our life excel.'

Let us now our next generations and their memories of our erstwhile love

protect.'


As the great Larkin rightly says,

'What survives of us is love.'”



Composer's note: The Last Line of this poem is taken from AN ARUNDEL TOMB by Philip Larkin