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Tabb Centenary Year LXII

Seven poems by Rev. John B. Tabb, on the anniversary of his death.

The Old Pastor

How long, O Lord, to wait
Beside this open gate?
My sheep with many a lamb
Have entered, and I am
Alone, and it is late.

1902 (p. 216, Religion: Saints)

Death

I passed him daily, but his eyes,
   On others musing, missed me,
Till suddenly, with pale surprise,
   He caught and clasped and kissed me.
Since then his long-averted glance
Is fixed upon my countenance.

1910 (p. 129, Life, Death and Similar Themes: Personal)

Leaf and Soul

         LEAF

Let go the Limb?
My life in him
   Alone is found.
Come night, come day,
’Tis here I stay
   Above the sapless ground.

         SOUL

Let go the warm
Life-kindled form,
   And upward fly?
Come joy, come pain,
I here remain
   Despite the yearning sky.

A sudden frost—and, lo!
Both Leaf and Soul let go!

November 1902 (p. 31, Nature: Trees)

In Extremis

Lord, as from Thy body bleeding,
Wave by wave is life receding
   From these limbs of mine:
As it drifts away from me
To the everlasting sea,
   Blend it, Lord, with Thine.

1907 (p. 250, Himself and Others)

United

   Here buried side by side
We long have waited with between us two
   A place for you.

   The powers of darkness tried
To chill our hearts to ashes; but behold
   They grew not cold.

   You journey far and wide;
Our eyes were on you till they turned your way
   To where we lay.

   Henceforth, all fate defied,
Our kindred dust commingling, three in one—
   We slumber, son.

(p. 271, Himself and Others)

A Stone’s Throw

Lo, Death another pebble far doth fling
   Into the midmost sea,
To leave of Life an ever-widening ring
   Upon Eternity.

1894 (p. 357, Quatrains: Miscellaneous)

The Soul’s Quest

I laid my vesture by
   Upon this spot,
And here returning, I
   Behold it not.
Dost thou, O earth, resume
   The relics of the tomb?

Whereto the earth replies:
   “Be not afraid;
Safe in my keeping lies
   What here was laid:
A thousand forms refine
   What shall again be thine.”

October 1896 (p. 160, Life, Death and Similar Themes: The World)

[Today is the centenary of Father Tabb’s death, November 19, 1909. Requiescat in pace. “In Extremis”: Latin, to the furthest reaches; thus, figuratively, near the point of death.]


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 — Thu. 11/19/09 08:16:32 AM
Categorized as Father Tabb Centenary Year & Literary.

   
         
         

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