Trumbull – TO MY SON by John Weaver – August, 1943

This poem was included with the previous letter, written by my Grandfather, to his sons, scattered around the world, in August, 1943. This is what he had to say in the early part of the letter:

The other day I ran across a poet’s attempt to put on paper what a father feels as he regards his infant son, as I have, in like circumstances, with each of you boys. A copy is enclosed. I can’t say I go along all the way with the author. He’s a bit too gloomy about it and I don’t agree that no one ever has a clear sight of his goal, and may, at rare times, for a few moments at least, reach the heights, but it is enough thought provoking to make it interesting. My own idea is that even if ideals are sometimes uncomfortable bedfellows, they are good to have.

TO MY SON

by John Weaver

Must you frown so?

Must you scowl so bitterly?

Oh, I know.

It’s very strange, after the warm dark silence –

This cold, confused insanity.

But don’t frown.

Nothing lasts forever, be assured.

Only a few years, after all, to be endured;

Then you may go back down

Into the tranquil nothingness.

You have my word.

What can you have heard

While you were where you were?

Did some subtle rumor seep

Into your deep

Calm of non-entity?

Can it be

They have warned you what you may expect?

Did they say how you must grope

With only a hint of what you are groping for?

And fight, and ache, and hope

And only guess what you are hoping for?

Did they say how you will see

Beauty scorned and trampled, and the ugly

Triumph of efficient swine, guzzling smugly?

Oh, it’s all true enough,

You will observe

Senseless tragedy, incomprehensible pain.

And you will find that you cannot do enough,

Try as you may,

To keep your white integrity, from the world’s stain.

And there will be many a tortured night,

When you will stare and stare

And tear

At your own flesh, and toss, and fight

The pillow in your agony,

Because you cannot make your dream come right.

(Do not delude yourself, dear boy;

One does not ever make the dream, right.)

But the dream – – follow it!

Never abandon it, though the pursuing take you

Into the mire, into the desert places

Where no help is; into the filth and squalor

Clotted with brutish, empty faces;

Into destruction, death.

Not for a moment will you see it clear.

Your dream.

You must not hope to. It is the chase that matters

Though your flesh become ribbons.

And your spirit tatters.

Drive! Drive!

Follow the dim gleam.

Follow!

There will be those who will seek to divert

Your eyes from your dream.

Many will plot and scheme

How they may blind you,

How they may blind you.

And there will be a few

Loving you

Who will endeavor to guard you from all hurt.

Listen to none!

Yourself, you must fight through!

Defiance to the foe, gentleness to the friend,

But in the end

The way of the dream is the lonely way.

They are they.

You are you.

And what can I promise for a reward?

Is there, then, nothing but the hard

March toward

A will-o’-the-wisp,

With oblivion beyond?

Oh, yes! Along the road that you must go

You will find bits of dream-trail here and there.

Sunsets and golden dawns, and the slow

Drift of the moon, – melodies, and

The softer richness of women’s hair…

And lips that cling and tremble – or hand

Clasping yours firmly, staunchly, joyously…

And there are fragrant souls that hide away.

But maybe glimpsed by one who seeks

Other dream hunters, too…

And the compelling blue

Of the sea – and something that speaks

Out of the earth, in April… and the glow

Of ripened fruits, in Autumn… and the sparkle

Of starlight on the snow… and the crisp patterns

That words can make… and the sweet curves

Of thighs and breasts… and the inscrutable fog,

the gay, devoted banter of a dog.

The bursting green of the grass, after

The pelt of rain… And the brook’s laughter.

But – enough,

Search out your own dream-stuff.

It will guide your stumbling soul

Toward the mist-enshrouded goal.

Come, now.

Set out upon your futile quest.

Chase your dreams, the while you know

You will never grasp it.

Up, then! Go!

Earn your timeless rest….

Must you frown so?

Tomorrow, another letter from Grandpa to his sons, with some very interesting views.

Judy Guion

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2 thoughts on “Trumbull – TO MY SON by John Weaver – August, 1943

  1. Mrs. P says:

    Wow…beautiful!

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