At Melville’s Tomb
"At Melville’s Tomb" is a poem written by Hart Crane. Right from the beginning of the poem, the reader can feel the attraction of humanity and nature. There was a sense of movement in the character’s complexity. This poems starts off with the lines, “Often beneath the wave, wide from this ledge The dice of drowned men's bones he saw bequeath an embassy” (Crane). From that line, readers can tell the comparison between man and nature’s calling. "Hart Crane's 'At Melville’s Tomb' is simultaneously an elegy for the American writer Herman Melville and Crane's own meditation on the project of art" (Cone).

This poem’s meaning was to explain the feelings and emotions from the sea. One of the last lines in the poem was “This fabulous shadow only the sea keeps, “ is saying that the sea is what feelings these inner emotions from the earth that no human can experience. This is where the Modernism takes over and is obvious for the reader to catch onto. Another characteristic of Modernism is a sense of loss or despair. This poem talks about, “The calyx of death's bounty giving back A scattered chapter, livid hieroglyph, The portent wound in corridors of shells” (Crane). That line explains the pain that the shell had to face and go through in order to survive. Crane was defining pain and death in order to help the reader understand the differences.

Modernism characteristics stick out from others. They can be anything such as a reaction against Realism, a break within traditional forms, rejections towards society, or even a celebration over passion. In this poem one of the characteristics that were strongly enforced was “death” (Cone). Crane writes his poem as if he is seeing it all himself. There are no lines or phrases where one thing is more important than the other, however he did use lower and upper case letters to differentiate between what needed to stand out and what didn’t need to. Crane also used nature in his poem, to show the significance in the power of the beauty of nature. Crane showed bibliographical imagery showing different plants and flowers that were growing amongst the sea. He also had the intentions of showing off Melville’s art and by doing so, he used navigational equipment to displays his wonders (Cone).

In conclusion, "At Melville’s Tomb" was a poem based on nature and death. Crane emphasized the glorious nature, which included plants, trees, sea life, flowers, etc. He wanted to make sure that the audience still thought the poem had beauty to keep the readers minds in awe. However, he was secretly putting death into the poem. All of the beauty was somewhat of a distraction to the reader so they wouldn’t be as focused on the dark death scenes. "At Melville’s Tomb" had many comparison and characteristics towards modernism writing styles.

Cone, Temple. "'At Melville's Tomb'." In Kimmelman, Burt, and Temple Cone, eds. The Facts On File Companion to American Poetry, vol. 2. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2007. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. CTAP0030&SingleRecord=True (accessed May 3, 2010).