Monday, July 12, 2010

Tuesday Poem - Poem for a Dying Fish



POEM FOR A DYING FISH

for Rufus, Siamese fighter (Betta splendens)


He appears to have grazed his chin, is bleeding

a low grace note. An errant fin of red

curls off him, turns the waving water plants

the colour of pale wet donkey. At his peak, his skin

was Doris plum; fins splayed, loose and billowing

scales polished to a gem-blue shimmer. Always

a slow-motion swimmer he is skimming now

just below the surface, an upside-down dancer

of dubious grace, tethering bubbles to the meniscus

of his hour glass flask.


CB


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10 comments:

  1. Oh! this is stunning - such images... such language ... wow. I love most of all the tenderness of the opening line laid onto the fact that this fish is a fighter, and the genius of the last line suggesting final gasps/final hours. The language at the end slays me: tethering bubbles to the meniscus of his hour glass flask'. I like that we both have poems this week with the word 'tethering' in them. X

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  2. Fine poem, Claire. The death of a loved one has rarely been so well expressed.

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  3. I too was struck by the imagery in this poem - most of all "the colour of pale wet donkey". That's brilliant.

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  4. I liked the "scales polished to a gem-blue shimmer"---and the feeling in the whole poem. (I also really liked the paintings in the post below!) Thank you again, Claire.

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  5. There's so much to love about this poem Claire. As always the language is satisfying and appealing.
    It has a pulse - a strong one - and life - even when describing the (seemingly insignificant)death of a small creature - you make it matter; and that's what the poem is saying, that all life matters, all is significant; and it says it so beautifully.

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  6. This is definitely beautiful language,leaving me with such visual images of......doris plums,and pale wet donkeys and bleeding chins.Wow! I also love looking at the words on the screen and re-reading them as the images sink in.

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  7. "Meniscus" is one of my favourite words, but I've never quite used it successfully in a poem.

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  8. oh glord this is wonderful. your poetry and art make me feel like a gushing beginner and I love that feeling.
    xoxor

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  9. ' dubious grace '

    yes, us all.

    lovely:)

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  10. Dear readers, I must apologize for not coming back to this post till now... I've been in a strange, unnameable place lately. I wouldn't know how to begin to describe it, save to say that bruising and deep exhaustion have lined its walls.

    Thank you for your generous responses to my fish poem. I was peculiarly attached to Rufus, couldn't bear to see him suffer. His was a slow dying. At some stage I intend to post a short piece about the relationship between Siamese Fighter fish and Peace Lilies. It's a wonderful metaphor for the internal struggles we have with our own 'fighter' and 'peace lover.' Each part, a warrior in its own way?

    Mary, Geoffrey, Tim, Helen, Kay, Richard, Catherine, Rebecca and Maggie... thanks for your words here.

    Take care (I will, too!)
    L, C xx

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