Tabb’s Poetry XXII


The Mist

Eurydice eludes the dark
   To follow Orpheus, the Lark
That leads her to the dawn
   With rhapsodies of star-delight,
   Till, looking backward in his flight,
He finds that she is gone.

The Shower

   Against the royal Blue,
   A Mist rebellious flew—
A night-born, wind-uplifted shade
That for an angry moment stayed,
   Then wept itself away.

   The Earth with moistened eyes
   Beholds the sunlit skies
Again: but never to forget
The Cloud whose life-drops mingle yet
   With her maternal clay.


Like inland streams, O Sea,
   Through joy and pain
All nature dreams of thee;
   Nor more appears
Thy life in mist or rain
   Than in our tears.


The world, they tell us, dwindles,
   When matched with other spheres;
And yet in all their amplitudes
   No place for human tears.

How sterile is the sunshine,
   How masculine the blue,
That breeds no shadow, nor betrays
   A memory of dew!

A Legacy

Do you remember, little cloud,
   This morning when you lay—
A mist along the river—what
   The waters had to say?

And how the many-colored flowers
   That on the margin grew
All promised when the day was done
   To leave their tints to you?

John B. Tabb

For a recitation, click the play button:

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“The Mist”: Later Lyrics, p. 33; Poetry, p. 62. December 1900. A lark is any of a number of songbirds (family Alaudidae); only one, the Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris), lives in North America. Eurydice and her husband Orpheus are figures in Greek mythology; dismayed by the death of his wife, Orpheus travels to the underworld to win her return; in the poem, the mist is Eurydice.

“The Shower”: Lyrics, p. 51; Poetry, p. 57. August 1895.

“Tides”: Father Tabb, p. 190; Poetry, p. 69. July 1909.

“Desert-Orbs”: Later Lyrics, p. 15; Poetry, p. 151. July 1909.

“A Legacy”: Child Verse, p. 10; Poetry, p. 59. 1899.


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