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Tabb Centenary Year LXV

Five poems by Rev. John B. Tabb.

Deprecation

Low, I listen in my grave
   For the silence soon to be
When a slow-receding wave,
   Hushed, is memory.

Now the falling of a tear
   Or the breathing half-suppressed
Of a sigh, re-echoed here,
   Holds me from my rest.

O, ye breakers of the past
   From the never-resting deep,
On the coast of slumber cast,
   Cease, and let me sleep.

April 1907 (p. 165, Life, Death and Similar Themes: Sleep)

Insomnia

E’en this, Lord, didst thou bless—
This pain of sleeplessness—
   The livelong night,
Urging God’s gentlest angel from thy side,
That anguish only might with thee abide
   Until the light.
Yea, e’en the last and best,
Thy victory and rest,
   Came thus to thee;
For ’twas while others calmly slept around,
That thou alone in sleeplessness wast found
   To comfort me.

October 1891 (p. 243, Himself and Others)

Sleeplessness

Sleep quiets all but me,
   A desert isle unsolaced by the sea—
   A Tantalus denied
The draught wherewith all thirst is satisfied.

June 1893 (p. 355, Quatrains: Personal)

Sundered

Thou sleepest sound, and I
Anear thee lie,
Yet worlds apart:
Thou in the light of dreams;
I, where the midnight seems—
An ashen sea—
From this my world and that wherein thou art
To blot out all but me.

March 1908 (p. 251, Himself and Others)

Midnight

A flood of darkness overwhelms the land;
And all that God had planned,
Of loveliness beneath the noonday skies,
A dream o’ershadowed lies.

Amid the universal darkness deep,
Only the Isles of Sleep,
As did the dwellings of the Israelite
In Egypt, stem the night.

August 1894 (p. 163, Life, Death and Similar Themes: Sleep)

[Father Tabb was a chronic insomniac. “Insomnia”: the concluding lines allude to the Gospel story of the Lord’s time in the Garden of Gethsemane, as in Mark 14:32-42. “Sleeplessness”: in Greek mythology, Tantalus was a son of Zeus. “Midnight”: the second quatrain alludes to the Old Testament story of the Plagues of Egypt, the ninth plague being darkness, as told in Exodus 10:21-23.]


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. 12/06/09 01:35:04 PM
Categorized as Father Tabb Centenary Year & Literary.

   
         
         

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