Herman Melville

(1 August 1819 – 28 September 1891 / New York City, New York)

Art - Poem by Herman Melville

In placid hours well-pleased we dream
Of many a brave unbodied scheme.
But form to lend, pulsed life create,
What unlike things must meet and mate:
A flame to melt--a wind to freeze;
Sad patience--joyous energies;
Humility--yet pride and scorn;
Instinct and study; love and hate;
Audacity--reverence. These must mate,
And fuse with Jacob's mystic heart,
To wrestle with the angel--Art.

Comments about Art by Herman Melville

  • Lantz Pierre (9/1/2017 11:47:00 PM)

    I love Melville. That said, I find this to be kind of a dull list poem. Yes, he's gathered all the right material for his discourse and laid them out with a well-measured eye towards meter and rhyme, but the whole lacks depth and real emotion. The material hasn't been transformed, and isn't transformative. Not for me at least. If you've been in the maelstrom, spent time wrestling with the softly ineluctable trying to make it conform by force of will to a new compositional beauty, then this poem only scratches the surface. Which I grant you, is a sort of new mark, but does it clarify? Or obscure? It's like a list of the attributes of a behemoth, albino marine mammal. Impressive, sure, but not really the threatening shadow let alone the flesh of the monster under the waves transformed into something we cannot rid ourselves of. Cannot be free of. Not until we join with it as it takes us to the unknown depths from which we cannot return. This poem's a bit of a toss off.

    Good thing Melville also wrote °Moby Dick°.
    (Report) Reply

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  • Glen Kappy (9/1/2017 5:44:00 PM)

    i had never read a poem (that i can remember) by melville. but this one is cool! and having just wrestled in the last two days on whether to sit down and wrestle with putting an idea into a poem, i definitely relate. -gk (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (9/1/2017 11:42:00 AM)

    Art! Better with humility. Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Mcgeorge Jeremiah (9/1/2017 11:27:00 AM)

    This is so inspiring (Report) Reply

  • Mcgeorge Jeremiah (9/1/2017 11:26:00 AM)

    This is so inspiring... (Report) Reply

  • Subhas Chandra Chakra (9/1/2017 8:10:00 AM)

    What unlike things must meet and mate:
    A flame to melt- a wind to freeze;
    Sad patience- joyous energies;
    Humility- yet pride and scorn;
    Instinct and study; love and hate;
    Audacity- reverence.
    A beautiful piece of work. Thanks for the sharing of this lovely poem.
    (Report) Reply

    Mcgeorge Jeremiah (9/1/2017 11:25:00 AM)

    So nice Chakra

  • Sixtus Unfailingdreams Osim (9/1/2017 7:50:00 AM)

    Such a lofty and lovely poem. Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • Kumarmani Mahakul (9/1/2017 6:19:00 AM)

    A gorgeous poem with its fullest arts. Thanks and congratulations to his soul for being selected as the poem of the day. (Report) Reply

  • Rajnish Manga (9/1/2017 12:55:00 AM)

    Amazing description about how an exquisite piece of art into existence and about what ingredients go into it. Thanks a lot. This is a favourite now. (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (9/1/2017 12:25:00 AM)

    Such a great poem posted here👍👍👍 (Report) Reply

  • (11/6/2009 11:00:00 AM)

    This poem is one of my top ten. I haven't added the other 9 yet. (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: angel, hate, pride, sad, dream, wind, heart, life, love

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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