LibriVox volunteers bring you 22 recordings of To a Dog by John Jay Chapman (1862-1933), published in 1917. This was the Weekly Poetry project for October 30th to November 13th 2011, to mark this year’s festivals of remembrance.
Chapman’s son Victor was the first American pilot to lose his life in aerial combat, while serving with the Escadrille Américaine in the First World War. This poem tells of the heartbreak of a bereaved father; the sentiment, though attributed to the son’s dog, is familiar to all who have lost someone they loved, in peace or war. (Introduction by Ruth Golding)
http://www.archive.org/download/toadog_1111_librivox/toadog_chapman_rn_64kb.mp3″Running time=1m 28s (mp3@64kb)
To a Dog
Past happiness dissolves. It fades away,
Ghost-like, in that dim attic of the mind
To which the dreams of childhood are consigned.
Here, withered garlands hang in slow decay,
And trophies glimmer in the dying ray
Of stars that once with heavenly glory shined.
But you old friend, are you still left behind
To tell the nearness of life’s yesterday?
Ah, boon companion of my vanished boy,
For you he lives; in every sylvan walk
He waits; and you expect him everywhere.
How would you stir, what cries, what bounds of joy,
If but his voice were heard in casual talk,
If but his footstep sounded on the stair!
This week’s poem can be found here.