Henry Abbey was an American poet who is best remembered for the poem, What do we plant when we plant a tree? He is also known for The Bedouin's Rebuke.
In much of his work, Abbey displays traditional characteristics of the nineteenth century American poetic approach. He uses inversions and has fluid feel; his style takes notable influence from that of English poet James Henry Leigh Hunt. The Bedouin's Rebuke can be compared to Hunt's Abou Ben Adhem, which employs similar metric flow. Abbey was fond of simple subject matter, such as remorse or happiness; his poetry often forms an anecdote or short story which builds in intensity, reaches a climactic struggle ... more »
Click here to add this poet to your My Favorite Poets.
Henry Abbey Poems
The Drawbridge Keeper
Drecker, a drawbridge keeper, opened wide The dangerous gate to let the vessel through; His little son was standing by his side, Above Passaic River deep and blue,
Along the cliff I walk in silence, While over the blue of the waves below, The white birds gleam in the sun like silver And ships in the offing come and go,
Along the Nile
We journey up the storied Nile; The timeless water seems to smile; The slow and swarthy boatman sings; The dahabëah spreads her wings;
All bold, great actions that are seen too near, Look rash and foolish to unthinking eyes; But at a distance they at once appear In their true grandeur: so let us be wise,
On A Great Warrior
When all the sky was wild and dark, When every heart was wrung with fear, He rose serene, and took his place, The great occasion's mighty peer.
O white, white, light moon, that sailest in the sky, Look down upon the whirling world, for thou art up so high,
How mild and fair the day, dear love! and in these garden ways The lingering dahlias to the sun their hopeless faces raise. The buckwheat and the barley, once so bonny and so blithe, Fall before the rhythmic labor of the cradler's gleaming scythe.
Invocation to the Sun
O Sun, toward which the earth's uneven face Turns ever round, strong Emperor of Day, To thee I bring my tribute of large praise; And yet not I; but that which in me is,
All night I cried in agony Of grief and bitter loss, And wept for Him whom they had nailed Against the shameful cross.
In Memory of General Grant
WHITE wings of commerce sailing far, Hot steam that drives the weltering wheel, Tamed lightning speeding on the wire,
Moons on moons ago, In the sleep, or night, of the moon, When evil spirits have power, The monster, Ontiora,
When might made right in days of chivalry, Hatot and Ringsdale, over claims of land, Darkened their lives with stormy enmity, And for their cause agreed this test to stand:
The King and the Naiad
When the wrongs of peace grow mighty, They beget the wrong of war, Whose wild night, with deeds immortal, Sparkles brightly, star on star.
The Age of Good
I had a vision of mankind to be: I saw no grated windows, heard no roar From iron mouths of war on land and sea; Ambition broke the sway of peace no more
Comments about Henry Abbey
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)
The Drawbridge Keeper
Drecker, a drawbridge keeper, opened wide
The dangerous gate to let the vessel through;
His little son was standing by his side,
Above Passaic River deep and blue,
While in the distance, like a moan of pain,
Was heard the whistle of the coming train.
At once brave Drecker worked to swing it back,
The gate-like bridge that seems a gate of death;
Nearer and nearer, on the slender track,
Came the swift engine, puffing its white breath.
Then, with a shriek, the loving father saw
His darling boy fall headlong from the draw!
Either at once down in the ...