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Tabb Centenary Year LXIII

Five poems by Rev. John B. Tabb.

Blind

Again as in the desert way,
Behold my guides, a cloud by day,
   A flame by night;
For darkness wakens with the morn,
But dreams, of midnight slumber born,
   Bring back the light.

March 1909 (p. 258, Himself and Others)

In Blindness

For me her life to consecrate,
   My Lady Light
Within her shadowy convent gate
   Is lost to sight.

I may not greet her; but a grace—
   A gleam divine—
The rapture of her hidden face
   Suffuses mine.

October 1908 (p. 258, Himself and Others)

Proximity

The day is nearer to the night
   Than to another day;
If closer to the Living Light,
   In darkness let me stay.

1910 (p. 355, Quatrains: Personal)

Mammy

I loved her countenance whereon,
   Despite the longest day,
The tenderness of visions gone
   In shadow seemed to stay.
And now, when faithless sight is fled
   Beyond my waking gaze,
Of darkness I am not afraid—
   It is my Mammy’s face.

1910 (p. 258, Himself and Others)

Dejection

The sun is gone; and the forsaken sea—
   Her glance a tear
Wherein all depths of tenderness appear—
   Looks back at me,
Where I upon the strand,
The centre of the lone horizon, stand
   Forlorn as she,
To know that when her darkness drifts away
   Mine own must stay.

March 1906 (p. 259, Himself and Others)

[Father Tabb lost his eyesight completely in late November 1908. “Blind”: the poem alludes to Exodus 13:21-22. “In Blindness”: St. Francis of Assisi had figuratively taken Lady Poverty as his bride. “Mammy”: in childhood, Fr. Tabb’s nanny had been Jenny Thompson, a Negro woman, with whom he remained friends for the rest of her life.]


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. 11/22/09 11:58:57 AM
Categorized as Father Tabb Centenary Year & Literary.

   
         
         

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