Monday, December 12, 2005

“A Flame to Melt”

I'm not much for poetry. Actually, I've gone so far in the past as to say that I hate poetry.
It was an overstatement, but one that I still find convenient (perhaps even comforting) from time to time. And I do hate most poetry.
But there are the occasional bits I enjoy indulging in. (Take this magnificent specimen, penned by the friend of a friend.)

Perhaps my favorite poet is none other than the author of “America's Only Epic” (only? rubbish!), Herman Melville. Hardly ever read for anything except Moby Dick, Billy Budd, Typee, or Omoo (and not really for the last two, even) anymore, Melville was a masterful poet.

Take this, one of Melville's finest:

Art [1891]
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.

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