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Two Poems from The Man Who Lived Among the Cannibals Melville Visits Sacred Cities Cairo: Flies on their eyes at noon, blind beggars lean against the wall. In the valley, the Pyramids rise from ancient tombs where pharoahs lie, hands folded on jewelled chests, waiting for the boat that will carry them through the reeds to a more surprising shore. Jerusalem: Lepers crowd the entrance blocking light as I blindly follow the worn marble stairs into the Holy Sepulchre of Christ. Dizzy with heat and stench, I reach for the iron railing. There is none. -Laurie Robertson-Lorant ~ L E V I A T H A N A J O U R N A L O F M E L V I L L E S T U D I E S1 1 7 Melville Explains Why He Started Writing Poetry While foolscap rolled out I swam in volcanic seas lank corpses bled to white and tried to write quill dipped in brine a crippled bird the prose was all blubber I toiled the black pots smoked and boiled exhausted and drained I spat out lines alone: cannibal crunching words of flesh and bone. -Laurie Robertson-Lorant 1 1 8 L E V I A T H A N ...


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pp. 117-118
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