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Best Famous Katharine Tynan Poems

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by Katharine Tynan |

Old Song Re-Sung

 I saw three ships a-sailing, 
A-sailing on the sea, 
The first her masts were silver,
Her hull was ivory. 
The snows came drifting softly, 
And lined her white as wool; 
Oh, Jesus, Son of Mary, 
Thy Cradle beautiful! 

I saw three ships a-sailing, 
The next was red as blood, 
Her decks shone like a ruby, 
Encrimsoned all her wood. 
Her main-mast stood up lonely, 
A lonely Cross and stark. 
Oh, Jesus, Son of Mary, 
Bring all men to that ark! 

I saw three ships a-sailing. 
The third for cargo bore 
The souls of men redeemed, 
That shall be slaves no more.
The lost beloved faces, 
I saw them glad and free. 
Oh, Jesus, Son of Mary, 
When wilt thou come for me?


by Katharine Tynan |

Of St. Francis and the Ass

 Our father, ere he went 
Out with his brother, Death, 
Smiling and well-content 
As a bridegroom goeth, 
Sweetly forgiveness prayed 
From man or beast whom he 
Had ever injured
Or burdened needlessly. 

'Verily,' then said he,
'I crave before I pass 
Forgiveness full and free
Of my little brother, the ass.
Many a time and oft, 
When winds and ways were hot, 
He hath borne me cool and soft 
And service grudged me not. 

'And once did it betide 
There was, unseen of me,
A gall upon his side 
That suffered grievously. 
And once his manger was 
Empty and bare, and brown. 
(Praise God for sweet, dry grass 
That Bethlehem folk shook down! ) 

'Consider, brethren,' said he, 
'Our little brother; how mild, 
How patient, he will be, 
Though men are fierce and wild. 
His coat is gray and fine, 
His eyes are kind with love; 
This little brother of mine 
Is gentle as the dove. 

'Consider how such an one 
Beheld our Saviour born, 
And carried him, full-grown, 
Through Eastern streets one morn.
For this the Cross is laid 
Upon him for a sign. 
Greatly is honourèd 
This little brother of mine.' 

And even while he spake, 
Down in his stable stall 
His little ass 'gan shake 
And turned its face to the wall. 
Down fell the heavy tear; 
Its gaze so mournful was, 
Fra Leo, standing near, 
Pitied the little ass. 

That night our father died, 
All night the kine did low: 
The ass went heavy-eyed, 
With patient tears and slow. 
The very birds on wings 
Made mournful cries in the air. 
Amen! all living things 
Our father's brethern were.


by Katharine Tynan |

Nymphs

 Where are ye now, O beautiful girls of the mountain,
Oreads all ?
Nothing at all stirs here save the drip of the fountain;
Answers our call
Only the heart-glad thrush, in the Vale of Thrushes;
Stirs in the brake
But the dew-bright ear of the hare in his couch of rushes
Listening, awake.


by Katharine Tynan |

Mater Dei

 She looked to east, she looked to west, 
Her eyes, unfathomable, mild, 
That saw both worlds, came home to rest,­ 
Home to her own sweet child.
God's golden head was at her breast. 

What need to look o'er land and sea? 
What could the winged ships bring to her? 
What gold or gems of price might be, 
Ivory or miniver, 
Since God Himself lay on her knee? 

What could th' intense blue heaven keep 
To draw her eyes and thoughts so high? 
All heaven was where her Boy did leap, 
Where her foot quietly 
Went rocking the dear God asleep. 

The angel folk fared up and down 
A Jacob's Ladder hung between 
Her quiet chamber and God's Town. 
She saw unawed, serene; 
Since God Himself played by her gown.


by Katharine Tynan |

Lambs

 He sleeps as a lamb sleeps, 
Beside his mother. 
Somewhere in yon blue deeps 
His tender brother 
Sleeps like a lamb and leaps. 

He feeds as a lamb might, 
Beside his mother. 
Somewhere in fields of light 
A lamb, his brother, 
Feeds, and is clothed in white.


by Katharine Tynan |

Immortality

 So I have sunk my roots in earth 
Since that my pretty boys had birth; 
And fear no more the grave and gloom, 
I, with the centuries to come. 

As the tree blossoms so bloom I, 
Flinging wild branches to the sky; 
Renew each year my leafy suit, 
Strike with the years a deeper root. 

Shelter a thousand birds to be, 
A thousand herds give praise to me; 
And in my kind and grateful shade 
How many a weary head be laid. 

I clothe myself without a stain. 
In me a child is born again, 
A child that looks with innocent eyes 
On a new world with glad surprise. 

The old mistakes are all undone, 
All the old sins are purged and gone. 
Old wounds and scars have left no trace, 
There are no lines in this young face. 

To hear the cuckoo the first time, 
And 'mid new roses in the prime 
To read the poets newly. This, 
Year after year, shall be my bliss. 

Of me shall love be born anew; 
I shall be loved and lover too; 
Years after this poor body has died 
Shall be the bridegroom and the bride. 

Of me shall mothers spring to know 
The mother's bliss, the mother's woe; 
And children's children yet to be 
Shall learn their prayers about my knee. 

And many million lights of home 
Shall light for me the time to come. 
Unto me much shall be forgiven, 
I that make many souls for heaven.


by Katharine Tynan |

Easter

 Bring flowers to strew His way, 
Yea, sing, make holiday; 
Bid young lambs leap, 
And earth laugh after sleep. 

For now He cometh forth
Winter flies to the north, 
Folds wings and cries 
Amid the bergs and ice. 

Yea, Death, great Death is dead, 
And Life reigns in his stead;
Cometh the Athlete 
New from dead Death's defeat. 

Cometh the Wrestler, 
But Death he makes no stir, 
Utterly spent and done, 
And all his kingdom gone.


by Katharine Tynan |

Blessings

 God bless the little orchard brown 
Where the sap stirs these quickening days. 
Soon in a white and rosy gown 
The trees will give great praise. 

God knows I have it in my mind, 
The white house with the golden eaves. 
God knows since it is left behind 
That something grieves and grieves. 

God keep the small house in his care, 
The garden bordered all in box, 
Where primulas and wallflowers are 
And crocuses in flocks. 

God keep the little rooms that ope 
One to another, swathed in green, 
Where honeysuckle lifts her cup 
With jessamine between. 

God bless the quiet old grey head 
That dreams beside the fire of me, 
And makes home there for me indeed 
Over the Irish Sea.


by Katharine Tynan |

Any Woman

 I am the pillars of the house;
The keystone of the arch am I.
Take me away, and roof and wall
Would fall to ruin me utterly.

I am the fire upon the hearth,
I am the light of the good sun,
I am the heat that warms the earth,
Which else were colder than a stone.

At me the children warm their hands;
I am their light of love alive.
Without me cold the hearthstone stands,
Nor could the precious children thrive.

I am the twist that holds together
The children in its sacred ring,
Their knot of love, from whose close tether
No lost child goes a-wandering.

I am the house from floor to roof,
I deck the walls, the board I spread;
I spin the curtains, warp and woof,
And shake the down to be their bed.

I am their wall against all danger,
Their door against the wind and snow,
Thou Whom a woman laid in a manger,
Take me not till the children grow!


by Katharine Tynan |

Adveniat Regnum Tuum

 Thy kingdom come ! Yea, bid it come! 
But when Thy kingdom first began 
On earth, Thy kingdom was a home,
A child, a woman, and a man. 

The child was in the midst thereof, 
O, blessed Jesus, holiest One! 
The centre and the fount of love 
Mary and Joseph's little Son. 

Wherever on the earth shall be 
A child, a woman, and a man, 
Imaging that sweet trinity 
Wherewith Thy kingdom first began, 

Establish there Thy kingdom! Yea, 
And o'er that trinity of love 
Send down, as in Thy appointed day,
The brooding spirit of Thy Dove!