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Best Famous Katharine Tynan Poems

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by Katharine Tynan | |

A Gardener-Sage

 Here in the garden-bed, 
Hoeing the celery, 
Wonders the Lord has made 
Pass ever before me.
I see the young birds build, And swallows come and go, And summer grow and gild, And winter die in snow.
Many a thing I note, And store it in my mind, For all my ragged coat That scarce will stop the wind.
I light my pipe and draw, And, leaning on my spade, I marvel with much awe O'er all the Lord hath made.
Now, here's a curious thing: Upon the first of March The crow goes house-building In the elm and in the larch.
And be it shine or snow, Though many winds carouse, That day the artful crow Begins to build his house.
But then­the wonder's big ! If Sunday fell that day, Nor straw, nor screw, nor twig, Till Monday would he lay.
His black wings to his side, He'd drone upon his perch, Subdued and holy-eyed As though he were in church.
The crow's a gentleman Not greatly to my mind, He'll steal what seeds he can, And all you hide he'll find.
Yet though he's bully and sneak, To small birds, bird of prey, He counts the days of the week, And keeps the Sabbath Day.


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!


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!


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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 | |

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 | |

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 | |

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 | |

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 | |

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 | |

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 | |

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 | |

Sheep and Lambs

 All in the April evening, 
April airs were abroad; 
The sheep with their little lambs 
Passed me by on the road.
The sheep with their little lambs Passed me by on the road; All in the April evening I thought on the Lamb of God.
The lambs were weary and crying With a weak, human cry.
I thought on the Lamb of God Going meekly to die.
Up in the blue, blue mountains Dewy pastures are sweet; Rest for the little bodies, Rest for the little feet.
But for the Lamb of God, Up on the hill-top green, Only a Cross of shame Two stark crosses between.
All in the April evening, April airs were abroad; I saw the sheep with their lambs, And thought on the Lamb of God.


by Katharine Tynan | |

Slow Spring

 O year, grow slowly.
Exquisite, holy, The days go on With almonds showing the pink stars blowing And birds in the dawn.
Grow slowly, year, like a child that is dear, Or a lamb that is mild, By little steps, and by little skips, Like a lamb or a child.


by Katharine Tynan | |

The Birds Bargain

 'O spare my cherries in the net,'
Brother Benignus prayed; 'and I 
Summer and winter, shine and wet,
Will pile the blackbirds' table high.
' 'O spare my youngling peas,' he prayed, 'That for the Abbot's table be; And every blackbird shall be fed; Yea, they shall have their fill,' said he.
His prayer, his vow, the blackbirds heard, And spared his shining garden-plot.
In abstinence went every bird, All the old thieving ways forgot.
He kept his promise to his friends, And daily set them finest fare Of corn and meal and manchet-ends, With marrowy bones for winter bare.
Brother Benignus died in grace: The brethren keep his trust, and feed The blackbirds in this pleasant place, Purged, as dear heaven, from strife and greed.
The blackbirds sing the whole year long, Here where they keep their promise given, And do the mellowing fruit no wrong.
Brother Benignus smiles in heaven.


by Katharine Tynan | |

The Wind that Shakes the Barley

 There's music in my heart all day,
I hear it late and early,
It comes from fields are far away,
The wind that shakes the barley.
Above the uplands drenched with dew The sky hangs soft and pearly, An emerald world is listening to The wind that shakes the barley.
Above the bluest mountain crest The lark is singing rarely, It rocks the singer into rest, The wind that shakes the barley.
Oh, still through summers and through springs It calls me late and early.
Come home, come home, come home, it sings, The wind that shakes the barley.


by Katharine Tynan | |

The Doves

 The house where I was born,
Where I was young and gay, 
Grows old amid its corn, 
Amid its scented hay.
Moan of the cushat dove, In silence rich and deep; The old head I love Nods to its quiet sleep.
Where once were nine and ten Now two keep house together; The doves moan and complain All day in the still weather.
What wind, bitter and great, Has swept the country's face, Altered, made desolate The heart-remembered place ? What wind, bitter and wild, Has swept the towering trees Beneath whose shade a child Long since gathered heartease ? Under the golden eaves The house is still and sad, As though it grieves and grieves For many a lass and lad.
The cushat doves complain All day in the still weather; Where once were nine or ten But two keep house together.


by Katharine Tynan | |

The End of the Day

 The night darkens fast & the shadows darken,
Clouds & the rain gather about mine house,
Only the wood-dove moans, hearken, O hearken!
The moan of the wood-dove in the rain-wet boughs.
Loneliness & the night! The night is lonely Star-covered the night takes to a tender breast Wrapping them in her veil these dark hours only The weary, the bereaved, the dispossessed.
When will it lighten? Once the night was kindly Nor all her hours went by leaden & long.
Now in mine house the hours go groping blindly.
After the shiver of dawn, the first bird's song.
Sleep now! The night with wings of splendour swept Hides heavy eyes from light that they may sleep Soft & secure, under her gaze so tender Lest they should wake to weep, should wake to weep.


by Katharine Tynan | |

The Foggy Dew

 A splendid place is London, with golden store, 
For them that have the heart and hope and youth galore; 
But mournful are its streets to me, I tell you true, 
For I'm longing sore for Ireland in the foggy dew.
The sun he shines all day here, so fierce and fine, With never a wisp of mist at all to dim his shine; The sun he shines all day here from skies of blue: He hides his face in Ireland in the foggy dew.
The maids go out to milking in the pastures gray, The sky is green and golden at dawn of the day; And in the deep-drenched meadows the hay lies new, And the corn is turning yellow in the foggy dew.
Mavrone ! if I might feel now the dew on my face, And the wind from the mountains in that remembered place, I'd give the wealth of London, if mine it were to do, And I'd travel home to Ireland and the foggy dew.


by Katharine Tynan | |

The Nurse

 Such innocent companionship 
Is hers, whether she wake or sleep, 
'Tis scarcely strange her face should wear 
The young child's grave and innocent air.
All the night long she hath by her The quiet breathing, the soft stir, Nor knows how in that tender place The children's angels veil the face.
She wakes at dawn with bird and child To earth new-washed and reconciled, The hour of silence and of dew, When God hath made His world anew.
She sleeps at eve, about the hour Of bedtime for the bird and flower, When daisies, evening primroses, Know that the hour of closing is.
Her daylight thoughts are all on toys And games for darling girls and boys, Lest they should fret, lest they should weep, Strayed from their heavenly fellowship.
She is as pretty and as brown As the wood's children far from town, As bright-eyed, glancing, shy of men, As any squirrel, any wren.
Tender she is to beast and bird, As in her breast some memory stirred Of days when those were kin of hers Who go in feathers and in furs.
A child, yet is the children's law, And rules by love and rules by awe.
And, stern at times, is kind withal As a girl-baby with her doll.
Outside the nursery door there lies The world with all its griefs and sighs, Its needs, its sins, its stains of sense: Within is only innocence.


by Katharine Tynan | |

The Only Child

 Lest he miss other children, lo! 
His angel is his playfellow.
A riotous angel two years old, With wings of rose and curls of gold.
There on the nursery floor together They play when it is rainy weather, Building brick castles with much pain, Only to knock them down again.
Two golden heads together look An hour long o'er a picture-book, Or, tired of being good and still, They play at horses with good will.
And when the boy laughs you shall hear Another laughter silver-clear, Sweeter than music of the skies, Or harps, or birds of Paradise.
Two golden heads one pillow press, Two rosebuds shut for heaviness.
The wings of one are round the other Lest chill befall his tender brother.
All day, with forethought mild and grave, The little angel's quick to save.
And still outruns with tender haste The adventurous feet that go too fast.
From draughts, from fire, from cold and stings Wraps him within his gauzy wings; And knows his father's pride, and shares His happy mother's tears and prayers.


by Katharine Tynan | |

The Weeping Babe

 She kneels by the cradle 
Where Jesus doth lie; 
Singing, Lullaby, my Baby! 
But why dost Thou cry? 

The babes of the village 
Smile sweetly in sleep; 
And lullaby, my Baby, 
That ever dost weep! 

I've wrapped Thee in linen, 
The gift of the Kings; 
And wool, soft and fleecy, 
The kind Shepherd brings.
Now smile, little Jesus, Whom naught can defile; All gifts will I give Thee An thou wilt but smile.
But it's lullaby, my Baby! And mournful am I, Thou cherished little Jesus, That still Thou wilt cry.