Harold Hart Crane

(21 July 1899 – 27 April 1932 / Garrettsville, Ohio)

At Melville's Tomb - Poem by Harold Hart Crane

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.

Form: Sonnet

Comments about At Melville's Tomb by Harold Hart Crane

  • Michael WalkerMichael Walker (9/18/2019 8:42:00 PM)

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

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  • Fabrizio FrosiniFabrizio Frosini (5/18/2016 11:31:00 AM)

    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'' (Report)Reply

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  • * Sunprincess * (4/1/2016 7:27:00 AM)

    ......a poignant write, so sad to lose someone at sea ★ (Report)Reply

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Read poems about / on: sea, death, star, wind

Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004

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