Art Poem by Herman Melville


Rating: 2.7

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.

Subhas Chandra Chakra 01 September 2017

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.

3 1 Reply
Mcgeorge Jeremiah 01 September 2017

So nice Chakra

0 0 Reply
W W 06 November 2009

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

4 0 Reply
Bernard F. Asuncion 01 September 2017

Such a great poem posted here??????

2 2 Reply
Rajnish Manga 01 September 2017

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.

1 2 Reply
Lantz Pierre 01 September 2017

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°.

1 0 Reply
Glen Kappy 01 September 2017

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

1 0 Reply
Edward Kofi Louis 01 September 2017

Art! Better with humility. Thanks for sharing this poem with us.

2 1 Reply
Mcgeorge Jeremiah 01 September 2017

This is so inspiring

2 2 Reply
Mcgeorge Jeremiah 01 September 2017

This is so inspiring...

2 2 Reply

Herman Melville

New York City, New York
Error Success