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Evans, Mildred (ed.) / Wisconsin literary magazine
Volume XVIII, Number 2 (November 1918)

Schramm, Frank H.
Night,   p. 32

Page 32

To Tom Hefferan
TOM HEFFERAN has kept his rendezvous
with death. His intense admiration for Alan
Seeger's poem seems now a portent of his own fate.
When I last saw him, just before he sailed for France,
he had no illusions about the nature of the duty which
he accepted so cheerfully. He had driven the gravely
wounded from the depots in Paris to the hospitals for
a year. Yet he went to battle with a spirit of devo-
tion that was ready and eager. In the vast adven-
ture of being he was glad to accept the supremely dif-
ficult and terrible as frankly as the beautiful and the
He was a true poet in that he was splendidly re-
sponsive to all the drama of experience. And the
books that he carried with him to France were the
works of the poets who opened wide the doors of life
for his participation. He was a true creative artist
in that all' experience was transformed by his ardent
spirit into something personal that was both fine and
He had not yet written much; he had high stand-
ards for himself and only gradually articulated per-
fectly the life that he felt so joyously. In his poem
You and I there is revealed the fine directness with
which he faced and transformed the life that meets
one on the great highroad. In it, too, may be read
that essential soundness of view and vigor of expres-
sion which held so much promise. Above all, every-
thing that he wrote was utterly sincere. It was im-
possible for him to conjure up feelings for the mere
purpose of expressing something strange and literary.
Such a performance was abhorrent to a man who was
the soul of frankness. What he said he meant, and
what he wrote he felt naturally and deeply.
As Tom Hefferan wrote he was,-generous, sin-
cere, high-minded, and high-spirited.  What better
qualities for a companion and a friend? Democratic
he was, to the core. His acquaintances in Madison
were as wide as the college. Though an enthusiastic
Deke, his friendships were not bounded by any lim-
ited group. Where a spirit met and answered his.
there he found that unselfish and mutual joy which
clears at a bound every sort of social barrier.
His influence was for the best in thought and deed.
H-e would have a university a place in which one door
after another is opened upon experience for a frater-
nal band of adventurers. For his comrades he made
it such a place, and surcharged it with his own innate
It will be long ere we shall see his like again. His
death on the field of battle can be justified in the eyes
of God and man only if the hopes which victory has
opened to all mankind be realized. To us who loved
him he must remain a symbol of promise both in the
life of our college and in that of the great new world
which we must see fulfilled.
Out into the night I peer,
Out among the shining worlds
Where the blue-black ether whirls,
Bearing souls of sages sere
That have died.
Bearing souls of babes to be.
Lovely things
Tremble in the silent flow,
Swept in a majestic bow,
Folded in the mystery
Of their wings.
Oh! that I might join the stream
Through the night!
Swept across the silent hall
In the current of the All,
Where the cosmos-fires gleam
Pallid light.
November, 1918

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