Another 1st of June…

It was so like him. I always thought his exits
Had a ghost-elusive touch; he left the stage
Before one was aware that he had gone…
The sort of touch that turned the plays into hits;
He knew the quality, seemed to gauge
Its value, as if he thought: “This I have known,
I rather fancied it would go like this.”
And where the eyes were his defiance shone,
That always seemed much more than artifice.

Beauty he taught me, yet his presence
Near me was a teaching, an unspoken thing
That sprang between us, voice within my blood,
Consanguine music both our hearts could sing.
He gave me eyes to see as his eyes saw
The sunlight in the darkness of a wood,
Beyond the brief horizons of the war.
He gave me hope to know that he was there
Beside me, making sorrow easier to bear.

He did not fail, his life-fire was not spent;
Nor did he weary of the years that steal
Away the spirit. He simply went
Between the barriers of time as through a door
Unbolted on a new experiment.
Inquisitive to seek a life more real
Than he had known, to find his answers there
Beyond the furthest pinnacles of air.

Ronald Howard
(In Search of My Father, p. 240)

Leslie Howard

Leslie Howard (April 3, 1893 – June 1st, 1943)