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  • Writer's pictureDenise Tolan

The Daily Dick: Musing in a Time of Angst

From The Chapel

"How it is that we still refuse to be comforted for those who we nevertheless maintain are dwelling in unspeakable bliss; why all the living so strive to hush all the dead; wherefore but the rumor of a knocking in a tomb will terrify a whole city. All these things are not without their meanings.

But Faith, like a jackal, feeds among the tombs, and even from these dead doubts she gathers her most vital hope."


Musing: Sometimes I read Melville and have to stop thinking and just lose myself in the beautiful text. The Chapel is one of those chapters. Sailors and widows and mothers and fathers gather to grieve and mourn and pray. The names of lost sailors are written on the walls. Melville reminds us of our doubts. if we believe the world beyond is heaven, why do we grieve. We should be happy for those who find paradise. Right? Then, the lines that haunt me appear: Faith, like an animal, feeds on death because it is there we find hope. It's ironic, don't you think? A little too ironic, I really do think.

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