At Melville's Tomb Poem by Harold Hart Crane

At Melville's Tomb

Rating: 3.5

Often beneath the wave, wide from this ledge
The dice of drowned men's bones he saw bequeath
An embassy. Their numbers as he watched,
Beat on the dusty shore and were obscured.

And wrecks passed without sound of bells,
The calyx of death's bounty giving back
A scattered chapter, livid hieroglyph,
The portent wound in corridors of shells.

Then in the circuit calm of one vast coil,
Its lashings charmed and malice reconciled,
Frosted eyes there were that lifted altars;
And silent answers crept across the stars.

Compass, quadrant and sextant contrive
No farther tides . . . High in the azure steeps
Monody shall not wake the mariner.
This fabulous shadow only the sea keeps.

Michael Walker 18 September 2019

A fairly obscure poem, but it captures the spirit of Herman Melville very skillfully. I feel as if I were there at the graveyard.

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Fabrizio Frosini 18 May 2016

is Melville ''beneath the waves''? He died and was buried on land.. but Crane is speaking of his spirit.. and ''of drowned men's bones''

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* Sunprincess * 01 April 2016

......a poignant write, so sad to lose someone at sea ★

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Harold Hart Crane

Harold Hart Crane

Garrettsville, Ohio
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