Friday, October 13, 2017

November 1856

In the midst of Moby-Dick,
Melville went to Hawthorne for a passage.
Asked him nothing, in the way
A friend asks everything.
Confessed a shredding of the stuff
that binds one’s faith.
The parlor pleasantries,
The subsumed ache.

They walked among the dunes,
Apart and together.
Melville spilled laments like rhapsody.
Fingers curled as if around a pencil,
Sand spread out like stars between his feet.

That day his kin denied the hand he offered,
So he unmoored himself: the castaway,
Anchored to a desk at Ellis Island,
Tossed by time like Pip by waves at sea.
There really is such thing as too much knowledge.
Dread can warm the soul like ecstasy.




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