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Tabb Centenary Year XXVI

Five poems by Rev. John B. Tabb.

Wild Flowers

We grow where none but God,
   Life’s Gardener,
Upon the sterile sod
   Bestows His care.

Our morn and evening dew—
   The sacrament
That maketh all things new—
   From heaven is sent;

And thither, ne’er in vain,
   We look for aid,
To find the punctual rain
   Or sun or shade,

Appointed hour by hour
   To every need,
Alike of parent flower
   Or nursling seed;

Till, blossom-duty done,
   With parting smile,
We vanish, one by one,
   To sleep awhile.

April 1985 (p. 19, Nature: Flowers)

To a Wood-Violet

In this secluded shrine,
   O miracle of grace,
No mortal eye but mine
   Hath looked upon thy face.

No shadow but mine own
   Hath screened thee from the sight
Of Heaven, whose love alone
   Hath led me to thy light.

Whereof—as shade to shade
   Is wedded in the sun—
A moment’s glance hath made
   Our souls forever one.

April 1896 (p. 6, Nature: Flowers)

The Suppliant

“O Dewdrop, lay thy finger-tip
Of moisture on my fevered lip,”
   The noonday Blossom cries.
“Alas, O Dives, dark and deep
The gulf impassable of Sleep
   Henceforth between us lies!”

March 1891 (p. 12, Nature: Flowers)

The Flowers

         They are not ours,
         The fleeting flowers,
         But lights of God
         That through the sod
Flash upwards from the world beneath—
That region peopled wide with death—
And tell us, in each subtle hue,
That life renewed is passing through
Our world again to seek the skies,
Its native realm of Paradise.

         How brief their day!
         They cannot stay;
         Our mother earth
         Beholds their birth
And spreads her ample bosom deep
Some relic of their stay to keep,
And each in benediction flings
A virtue from its dainty wings;
But lo! she treasures it in vain;
It blooms and vanishes again.

1882 (p. 23, Nature: Flowers)

Morning and Night Bloom

A star and a rosebud white,
   In the morning twilight gray,
The latest blossom of the night,
   The earliest of the day;
The star to vanish in the light,
   The rose to stay.

A star and a rosebud white,
   In the evening twilight ray,
The earliest blossom of the night,
   The latest of the day;
The one in darkness finding light,
   One lost for aye.

1897 (p. 14, Nature: Flowers)

[“The Suppliant”: Dives is the name traditionally given to the rich man in the Lord’s parable recounted in Luke 16:19-31. “Morning and Night Bloom”: aye means forever.]


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. 04/19/09 07:52:13 AM
Categorized as Father Tabb Centenary Year & Literary.

   
         
         

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Cor ad cor loquitur J. H. Newman — “Heart speaks to heart”