Tabb’s Poetry XV



The little birds that hither bring
The earliest messages of Spring,
   Seem, fountain-like, to overflow
   With music melted from the snow.

So sweet the tidings that they tell,
The hidden buds begin to swell,
   Till suddenly, with lifted ears,
   The leafy multitude appears.


The winds from many a cloudy mane
Shake off the sweat of gathering rain
   And whicker with delight;
No slope of pasture-lands they need,
Whereon to rest, or drink, or feed:
Their life the rapture of the speed,
   The frenzy of the flight.

In the Nest

O world beneath the mother’s wing,
   Secure from harm,
The heart so near the sheltered thing
   To keep it warm!

No longer needed now the light
   Of heaven above—
The very darkness breathes a plight
   Of deeper love.

The Breeze

Through thee the ocean knows
The fragrance of the rose;
And inlands, far away,
The blossom of the spray.

Through thee, to every wave
A whisper of the grave;
And to each grave a sigh
Of Life that cannot die.


Still sing the morning stars remote
   With echoes now unheard,
Save in the scintillating note
   Of some dawn-wakened bird

Whose heart, a fountain in the light,
   Prolongs the limpid strain
Till on the borderland of Night,
   The stars begin again.

John B. Tabb



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“Precursors”: Later Lyrics, p. 96; Poetry, p. 42. 1902. Precursors are forerunners or announcers.

“Racers”: Later Poems, p. 65; Poetry, p. 52. June 1903. To whicker is to whinny or neigh, as horses do.

“In the Nest”: Later Lyrics, p. 98; Poetry, p. 43. 1902.

“The Breeze”: Later Poems, p. 74; Poetry, p. 51. June 1904.

“Matins”: Poetry, p. 47. Undated. Matins, a part of the Divine Office (the daily prayer cycle of clergy and religious), has been typically celebrated before dawn, at least in monastic settings; limpid means clear or lucid.


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