“Art” by Herman Melville

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.

image

Carp ascending a waterfall
ca. 1926
Ohara Koson, (Japanese, 1877 – 1945) 
Taisho or Showa era
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