Tabb’s Poetry V

Deep Unto Deep

Where limpid waters lie between,
There only heaven to heaven is seen:
Where flows the tide of mutual tears,
There only heart to heart appears. 

The Rain-Pool

I am too small for winds to mar
My surface; but I hold a Star
That teaches me, though low my lot,
That highest heaven forgets me not. 

“For the Rain It Raineth Every Day”

Aye, every day the rain doth fall,
   And every day doth rise;
’Tis thus the heavens incessant call,
   And thus the earth replies. 


Out of the deep are we,
Out of that inland sea
Whereof the briny wave
Beats to the yawning grave.

The Sun

He prisons many a life indeed
Within the narrow cells of seed,
But cannot call them forth again
Without the sesame of rain.

John B. Tabb



For a recitation, click the play button:



“Deep Unto Deep”: Lyrics, p. 160; Poetry, p. 366. August 1894. Deep Unto Deep (Latin, abyssus abyssum invocat) is a phrase from the Psalms. In the Latin Vulgate and the English Douay-Rheims versions, which Father Tabb would have used, the phrase comes from Psalm 41:8. In most other Bibles, it comes from Psalm 42:7.

“The Rain-Pool”: Later Lyrics, p. 39; Poetry, p. 337. 1902.

“For the Rain It Raineth Every Day”: Poems, p. 123; Poetry, p. 356. November 1892. The title is from Shakespeare: Twelfth Night (Act V, Scene I) or King Lear (Act III, Scene II).

“Tears”: Later Poems, p. 95; Poetry, p. 369. 1910.

“The Sun”: Poems, p. 144; Poetry, p. 331. April 1893. Sesame, as in “Open, Sesame” from Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves in Arabian Nights; therefore, something that acts like a magic password.

A convert to the Catholic faith, Rev. John Banister Tabb (1845-1909) was a priest of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, and Professor of English at St. Charles’ College, Ellicott City, Maryland. Poems selected, arranged, and annotated by E.L. Core.
Filed under: