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Tabb Centenary Year LXVIII

Five poems by Rev. John B. Tabb.

Vox Dei

“Some said it thundered.”

The Father speaking to the Son,
In all the multitude was none
   That caught the meaning true.
And yet “This word from Heaven,” said He,
“Was spoken not because of me—
   But came because of you.”

Thus through the Son of Man alone
The mysteries of God are known;
   Thus to the chosen few
With eye and ear attentive found
He speaks in every sight and sound,
   The old becoming new.

1909 (p. 194, Religion: Christ)

Tradition

When home our blessed Lord was gone,
His mother lived alone with John;
For each had secrets to impart
That Love had taught them both by heart.

1899 (p. 345, Quatrains: Religion)

Christ and the Pagan

I had no God but these,
The sacerdotal Trees,
And they uplifted me.
“I hung upon a Tree.”

The sun and moon I saw,
And reverential awe
Subdued me day and night.
“I am the perfect Light.”

Within a lifeless stone—
All other gods unknown—
I sought Divinity.
“The Corner-Stone am I.”

For sacrificial feast
I slaughtered man and beast,
Red recompense to gain.
“So I, a Lamb, was slain.

“Yea; such My hungering Grace
That wheresoe’er My face
Is hidden, none may grope
Beyond eternal Hope.”

1910 (p. 193, Religion: Christ)

Potter’s Field

’Twas purchased with His blood, this holy ground,
   This place of refuge for the homeless dead;
While He, alas! no spot secluded found
   In all the world, whereon to lay His head.

May 1898 (p. 342, Quatrains: Religion)

The Image-Maker

“Thou shalt no graven image make;”
And yet, O sculptor, for the sake
   Of such an effigy as I—
The superscription like the face
Disfigured now, and hard to trace—
   Didst thou thyself consent to die.

January 1909 (p. 195, Religion: Christ)

[John B. Tabb was ordained to the priesthood this day, December 20, 1884. “Vox Dei”: Latin, the voice of God; the poem is a reflection on the Gospel story related in John 12:20-36. “Tradition”: according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “The word tradition (Greek paradosis) in the ecclesiastical sense... refers sometimes to the thing (doctrine, account, or custom) transmitted from one generation to another; sometimes to the organ or mode of the transmission....” “Potter’s Field”: the poem references Matthew 27:3-10 and alludes to Luke 9:57-58. “The Image-Maker”: the quotation is from Exodus 20:4; the whole poem alludes to Genesis 1:26; a superscription is something written on the surface of, on the outside of, or above something else; an effigy is an image or representation of a person.]


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. 12/20/09 08:52:25 AM
Categorized as Father Tabb Centenary Year & Literary.

   
         
         

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