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Tabb Centenary Year XX

Five poems by Rev. John B. Tabb.

Peach Bloom

A dream in fragrant silence wrought,
A blossoming of petaled thought,
A passion of these April days—
The blush of nature now betrays.

February 1896 (p. 326, Quatrains: Flowers)

An April Bloom

Whence art thou? From what chrysalis
   Of silence hast thou come?
What thought in thee finds utterance
   Of dateless ages dumb—
Outspeeding in the distance far
The herald glances of a star
      As yet unseen?

Wast thou, ere thine awakening here,
   In other realms a-bloom?
Or swathed in seamless cerements
   Of immemorial gloom,
Till now, as Nature’s pulses move,
Thou blossomest, a breath of love,
   Her lips between?

1897 (p. 16, Nature: Flowers)


For this the fruit, for this the seed,
   For this the parent tree;
The least to man, the most to God—
   A fragrant mystery
Where Love, with Beauty glorified,
   Forgets utility.

December 1892 (p. 7, Nature: Flowers)

Cherry Bloom

Frailest and first to stand
Upon the border-land
   From darkness shriven,
In livery of Death
Thou utterest the breath
   And light of Heaven.

Though profitless thou seem
As doth a poet’s dream,
   Apart from thee
Nor limb nor laboring root
May load with ripened fruit
   The parent tree.

March 1895 (p. 25, Nature: Trees)


Knew not the Sun, sweet Violet,
   The while he gleaned the snow,
That thou in darkness sepulchred,
   Wast slumbering below?
Or spun a splendor of surprise
Around him to behold thee rise?

Saw not the Star, sweet Violet,
   What time a drop of dew
Let fall his image from the sky
   Into thy deeper blue?
Nor waxed he tremulous and dim
When rival Dawn supplanted him?

And dreamest thou, sweet Violet,
   That I, the vanished Star,
The Dewdrop, and the morning Sun,
   Thy closest kinsmen are—
So near that, waking or asleep,
We each and all thine image keep?

1894 (p. 4, Nature: Flowers)

[“An April Bloom”: a chrysalis is a cocoon. “Cherry Bloom”: to be shriven is to be absolved or cleansed; “to shrive” is an obsolete synonym for “to forgive” but barely survives in “Shrove Tuesday”, the day before Ash Wednesday; the first “nor” in the tenth line should be understood as “neither”.]

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. 04/05/09 11:27:27 AM
Categorized as Father Tabb Centenary Year & Literary.


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