main | Vacant room | Dawning | Butcher shop | Simplicity | Farewell | Dulcia Linquimus Arva | Last sun in Villa Ortúzar | Mythical founding of Buenos Aires | Deathwatch on the Southside | Buenos Aires Deaths | Chess | Quatrain | Cyclical Night | A thirteenth-century poet | Susana Soca | Camden, 1892 | A Northside knife | Milonga of Albornoz | New England, 1967 | The labyrinth | Invocation to Joyce | Tankas | Susana Bombal | Things | Menaced | You | Poem of quantity | The sentinel | To the German language | 1891 | Hengist asks for men, A.D. 449 | Browning poet resolves to be | Suicide | I am | Fifteen coins | Blind man | 1972 | Elegy | The exile (1977) | In memory of Angelica | My books | Talismans | The white deer | The profound rose | Mexico | Herman Melville | To Johannes Brahms | Baruch Spinoza | Alhambra | Music box | Adam is your ashes | On acquiring an encyclopedia | Nostalgia for the present | The accomplice | Shinto | The cipher | My last tiger | The cypress leaves | The weft
Always the sea of his
elders ringed him,
The Saxons, who gave it the name
Whale-road, in which unite
Both enormous things, the whale
And the seas it largely plows.
Always his was the sea. When his eyes
Saw the open sea's great waters
Already he was possessed and taken with
That other sea, which is Scripture,
Or the layout of archetypes.
As a man, he gave himself to planetary oceans
And exhausting days under sail
And knew the harpoon ruddy
With Leviathan and the rayed sand
And the smell of night and dawn
And horizons where hazard waits
And the happiness of being valiant
And at last the pleasure of spying Ithaca.
Subduer of the sea, he bestrode earth
Which is the root of mountains
And where he charts a vague course,
Quiet in time, a sleeping compass.
In the inherited shade of orchards
Melville crosses New England evenings
But the sea abides in him. It is the opprobrium
Of the mutilated captain of the Pequod,
The indecipherable sea and storms
And the abomination of whiteness.
The great book. The azure Proteus.