In the Journal Up the Straits the story of Melville's return starts after Cape Finisterre is passed, off Cape Vincent. The entry for that day is a dumb show of what is to follow. The contraries of the man who now turns to the East for some resolution of them lie in these natural sentences, as outward as gestures:
Passed within a third of a mile of Cape St. Vincent. Light house 8c monastery on
Sunday, bold cliff. Cross. Cave underneath light house. The whole Atlantic breaks here. Lovely afternoon.
Great procession of ships bound for Crimea must have been descried from this point.
Melville had started a ghost. What he sees on the cliff is, quick, his, life: HEIGHT and CAVE, with the CROSS between. And his books are made up of these things: light house, monastery, Cross, cave, the Atlantic, an afternoon, the Crimea: truth, celibacy, Christ, the great dark, space of ocean, the senses, man's past.
Call me Ishmale – Olson
It’s a building, but also a cave.
It’s a podium and a roof,
and four stone walls between.
It’s a dark room,
with a hole in the centre, for the light.
It’s a platform for contemplate the nature.