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Tabb Centenary Year XIII

Five lyrics by Rev. John B. Tabb.

A Hairbreadth

’Tis in the twinkle of escape
   That all our safety lies.
Of danger, whatsoe’er the shape,
   The nearness naught implies:
This side is life; that side, a breath
   Of deviation, instant death.

’Tis in the present I am free
   The mental die to cast;
The future yet of mastery
   Is palsied as the past;
Between, the breathless balance still
   Awaits the hesitating will.

April 1900 (p. 222, Religion: Doctrine)


   Reason, have done!
   Of thee I’ll none
While face to face I see the sun.

   Be thine the ray
   To point the way
In darkness: but, behold, ’tis day.

   Should faith divine
   Forbear to shine,
Again I’ll place my hand in thine.

   For in thy sight
   To walk aright
Is prelude to the perfect light.

1910 (p. 224, Religion: Doctrine)

The Sisters

The waves forever move;
The hills forever rest:
Yet each the heavens approve,
And love alike hath blessed
A Martha’s household care,
A Mary’s cloistered prayer.

1897 (p. 95, Nature: Miscellaneous)


From flame to snow—
         E’en so
Must all perfection flow.
   Each pure desire
   Is fledged with fire
And needs must grow
   From dark to light,
   Till, passion past,
Transfigured in its flight,
   It stand at last
Unblushing on the topmost height
   With sister souls in white,
To follow still the Lamb
   Wherever He may go.

(p. 235, Religion: Doctrine)


Like the manna, mute as snow,
Swift the moments come and go,
Each sufficient for the needs
Of the multitude it feeds;
One to all, and all to one,
Superfluity to none,
Ever dying but to give
Life whereon alone we live.

1910 (p. 138, Life, Death, and Similar Themes: Love)

[“Purification”: the last two lines allude to Revelation 14:4. “Moments”: the poem alludes to the Old Testament story of God providing the Israelites with manna from heaven for their daily food; see Exodus 16, especially verses 18 & 21: “.... neither had he more that had gathered more; nor did he find less that had provided less.... Now every one of them gathered in the morning, as much as might suffice to eat....”]

The references (page number and section) are to The Poetry of Father Tabb, ed. Francis A. Litz, Ph.D. (New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1928). All of Tabb's poems published here in the Father Tabb Centenary Year were originally published before 1923.

Biblical references link to the New Advent Bible comprising Bishop Challoner's edition of the Douay-Rheims Bible (English) and the Sixto-Clementine edition of the Vulgate (Latin), since they are the versions which Father Tabb would have used as a Catholic.

The year 2009 is the centenary of the death of Rev. John Banister Tabb, November 19, 1909.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Sun. 03/01/09 04:21:12 PM
Categorized as Father Tabb Centenary Year & Literary.


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