Tabb’s Poetry XXIV



Where closing water-lilies are
I’ve sometimes seen the Evening Star,
   A-blossom just below,
And I have wondered if there be
No pools in heaven where souls may see
   How water-lilies grow. 


   The river to the sea,
   In language of the land,
   Interpreter would be
   Of life beyond the strand;
Of billowy heights that never fall
When winds have gone their way,
Of waving forests, dark and tall,
Of flocks, and herds, and fertile vales,
Of warbling birds and blossom-spray
That scents the wandering gales.
Alas! ’tis all a mystery!
   She does not understand. 

Life’s Gulf Stream

Stars that in the darkness bloom
   Wither in the light;
Dreams begotten of the gloom,
   Take their morning flight.

And, the gleam of fancy gone,
From the current of the dawn
Tidal memories are drawn
   To the coast of Night.

Lo! of gladness or regret
Teardrops in the violet
Weeping till her leaves are wet,
Dewdrops in mine eyes beget!

Mirrored in each lucid sphere,
Highest heaven to earth is near;
Closer sympathies are here
’Twixt the dewdrop and the tear. 

Sunset at Sea

Lo, where he sinks from sight,
The day forgets her light;
   Nor breathes a wave
To break the silence sweet
Where sky and ocean meet
   Above his grave.

John B. Tabb

For a recitation, click the play button:

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“Reflection”: Later Lyrics, p. 85; Poetry, p. 18. 1902. Water lilies are flowering plants (family Nymphaeaceae) that grow in bodies of water; rooted in the soil below, they have leaves and flowers floating on the surface. The Evening Star is the planet Venus, so called during the periods when it is brightest just after sunset.

“Beyond”: His Life and Work, p. 96; Poetry, p. 70. Undated. In the last line, She refers to the sea.

“Life’s Gulf Stream”: Later Poems, p. 82; Poetry, p. 77. 1910. The Gulf Stream is a powerful, warm current in the Atlantic Ocean, running along the Eastern seaboard of North America.

“Sympathy”: Lyrics, p. 26; Poetry, p. 150. April 1894.

“Sunset at Sea”: Lyrics, p. 36; Poetry, p. 64. February 1892.


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