Mosaic by Matt Melone

In ‘Mosaic’ Matt Melone explores themes of equality, peace, and the future. The poet uses numerous techniques such as accumulation and repetition of form in order to draw the reader in and build in their mind a beautiful and troubling image of how the human race is today. But, the poem ends optimistically, alluding to a future that is much better than the present we are all experiencing. 

Mosaic by Matt Melone

 

Mosaic Poem

Life is a mosaic, a profound jigsaw puzzle. Everybody and everything holds a piece of the puzzle. Life and death. Visible and invisible. Human and insect. Plant and animal. Conservative and liberal. Women and men. Young and old. Black and white. Every color in between. Weak and strong. Thankful and bitter. Revenge and forgiveness. Rich and poor. Noise and solitude. Courageous and meek. Logical and emotional. Poets and critics. Religion and philosophy. Broken and strong. Those in need. Those who have what is needed. Generous and selfish. Nature and technology. Fire and ice. Victory and defeat. Shame and honor. Patriots and protests. Free and enslaved. Clenched fists and open hands. Sweet and bitter. Salt and savory. Laughter and tears. Pain and pleasure. Right and wrong. Saint and sinner. Humble and hypocrite. Cursed and lucky. Design and chance. Daylight and darkness. Good and evil. Truth and deception. Shades of gray. Beauty and beast. Positive and negative. Virus and vaccine. Past and future. Atom and boson particle. Science and faith. Creation and evolution. Simple and complex. Occam’s razor.

We belong to each other. The mosaic expands. Free will and destiny. We have choices. Destiny evolves upward, reaching for the light. Stained glass masterpiece.

 

Summary of Mosaic 

Mosaic’ by Matt Melone is packed full of images that ask the reader to address the success and failure, beauty and horror of humanity.

Throughout this piece, the poet accumulates numerous contrasting phrases and words that help depict life as we know it. He brings together unusual and familiar images so that the reader might see the world as he does, a “mosaic” in which we are all one single piece. 

 

Structure of Mosaic 

Rather than use stanzas, Melone has chosen to combine his text into blocks that read more like paragraphs than they do anything else. The poem is made up of two of these paragraphs. The first is significantly longer than the second. Because of this choice, there are several different things to consider when it comes to the lines of the poem. The paragraph format means that the line breaks are less planned than they are spontaneous. Plus, the short sentence fragments are more obvious in this format than they would be if the paragraphs were separated into lines of verse. 

In total, the first paragraph stretches for fourteen lines while the second is only two. There is no rhyme scheme or metrical pattern but that doesn’t mean there is no rhyme in the poem at all. There are numerous examples of what is known as half-rhyme. It is also often referred to as “slant” or “partial” rhyme. 

 

Literary Devices in Mosaic 

Melone makes use of several literary devices in ‘Mosiac’ despite its unusual structure. These include but are not limited to metaphor, symbolism, and juxtaposition. The first of these, a metaphor, is a comparison between two, unlike things that do not use “like” or “as” is also present in the text. When using this technique a poet is saying that one thing is another thing, they aren’t just similar. For example, the first line of the poem tells the reader that like is “a mosaic”. This idea is expanded upon throughout the poem and addressed again directly in the last two lines. 

Symbolism occurs is when a poet uses objects, colors, sounds, or places to represent something else. There are numerous symbols in this piece all of which are working towards the same goal of depicting the various pieces of human life. Some are clearer than others, such as the “Clenched fists and open hands”. 

This is when two contrasting things are placed near one another in order to emphasize the juxtaposition. A poet usually does this in order to emphasize a larger theme of their text or make an important point about the differences between these two things. A reader does not have to look far to find examples of this technique. It can be seen almost from the start of the poem to the end as the poet piles up examples of the way humanity lives. These are also an example of accumulation. 

 

Analysis of Mosaic 

Stanza One 

Line 1

Life is a mosaic, a profound jigsaw puzzle. Everybody and everything holds a piece of the puzzle. Life and death. Visible and invisible.

In the first part of this stanza of text of ‘Mosaic,’ the speaker begins with a line that summarizes the poem. He describes life as  “mosaic,” an example of a metaphor. It is a “profound jigsaw puzzle,” he continues. The use of the word “profound” in the first sentence elevates the imagery. The saying, in one form or another, is quite common. But, by adding in this word “profound” the poet asks the reader to look more deeply and try to understand the saying in a new way. 

Continuing on, the speaker makes another broad statement that plays an integral part in the structure of the content. He believes that the world is constructed entirely out of the puzzle pieces. No one holds more than one piece and all those pieces put together to make everything we know. 

 

Lines 2-7

Human and insect. Plant and animal. Conservative and liberal. Women and men. Young and old. Black and white. Every color in between. Weak and strong. Thankful and bitter. Revenge and forgiveness. Rich and poor. Noise and solitude. Courageous and meek. Logical and emotional. Poets and critics. Religion and philosophy. Broken and strong. Those in need. Those who have what is needed. Generous and selfish. Nature and technology. Fire and ice. Victory and defeat.

The next lines, paired nouns, and adjectives linked together by the conjunction “and” layout the various things that the world is made up of. They are the pieces of the puzzle. Some of these include “Poets and critics” and “Revenge and forgiveness”. Many of these pairs, such as those just mentioned, are generally seen as opposites. But, by linking them together this way the speaker is suggesting that they are not quite so so different. They are all of this world. 

One of the most interesting contrasts, or juxtapositions, occurs when the poet places the two phrases “Those in need. Those who have what is needed” next to one another. Here, he is intentional encouraging the reader to consider where they fall in this spectrum and if there is something more they could be doing for those in need.

 

Lines 8-14 

Shame and honor. Patriots and protests. Free and enslaved. Clenched fists and open hands. Sweet and bitter. Salt and savory. Laughter and tears. Pain and pleasure. Right and wrong. Saint and sinner. Humble and hypocrite. Cursed and lucky. Design and chance. Daylight and darkness. Good and evil. Truth and deception. Shades of gray. Beauty and beast. Positive and negative. Virus and vaccine. Past and future. Atom and boson particle. Science and faith. Creation and evolution. Simple and complex. Occam’s razor. 

In the second half of the fourteen-line stanza of ‘Mosaic’, the speaker continues listing out his opposites. Some of these are quite clear while others are more symbolic, such as the “Clenched fists and open hands” alluding the anger/resentment versus forgiveness/open-mindedness. The last two words in this progression of opposites are “Occam’s razor”. This is a very well-known theory that states “Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily”. In clearer terms, this means that the simplest solution is usually the correct one.

This is an interesting and unexpected transition. The poet was perhaps thinking about what the simplest solution to the complex world that we live in might be. After listing out, in an overwhelming paragraph of figurative language, allusion, and juxtaposition, the solution might be the symbol of the “open hand”. That if we as human beings can remain good, open-minded, and willing to learn from one another, many of these opposites might be resolved or they might disappear entirely. 

 

Stanza Two 

We belong to each other. The mosaic expands. Free will and destiny. We have choices. Destiny evolves upward, reaching for the light. Stained glass masterpiece. 

The second part of this poem is only two lines long. The two lines, which are again structured as a paragraph rather than structured verse, clear up some of the ambiguity that a reader might be left with. The “mosaic” mentioned in the first line, as well as imagery associated with it, comes back into the poem. The “mosaic expands,” the speaker says. It moves beyond that which it was originally and allows for change. Humanity is able to evolve and make new choices. This occurs until finally, in a utopian world, we are left with a “Stained glass masterpiece”. 

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