Week six has been fun. If you’ll recall, each day during week five, I read a poem about sleep, which in some cases meant death. Since that was depressing, I promised to look for something a little lighter this week and my son helped me pick the theme: Fish! You’ll notice I also included a different photo this week. The pink fish is the one he threw at me, the one who started this whole fish mess.
The best part of the project this week was the variety. The internet is full of funny and serious poems about fish, fishing, sea creatures and other aquatic subjects. However, most of the traditional poems I found had the word fish in them, but talked about something else, like parasols and aging. As a result, it took a while to find a poem that fit within the guidelines I had set up. Well, there was only one guideline really, but you’d be surprised how many things mention fish, while having absolutely nothing to do with fish. I also really enjoyed reading poems from lesser-known poets. Those tended be less constrained. They had an element of fun to them that was missing in many of the traditional poems. I ended up reading a lot more poems than I’m pasting here, but these are the ones I meditated on each day.
February 5th – Fish, by D.H. Lawrence
But not before I have had to know
He was born in front of my sunrise.
Before my day.
He outstarts me.
And I, a many-fingered horror of daylight to him,
Have made him die.
I have wondered a lot of things in my life, but I have never wondered how I look to a fish. Now I think about it all the time.
February 6th – Megalomania, by Anjali Sinha
Frog croaked, Cloud rained
Frog thought, “I did”
Firefly flashed, Bushfire razed
Firefly thought, “I did”.
Fish peed, river flooded
Fish thought, “I did”
Really enjoyed this one. I smiled. I laughed. Spent the day thinking about all the other things that could fit inside the belly of the poem.
February 7th – Flounder, by Natasha Threthewey
Aunt Sugar rolled her nylons down
around each bony ankle,
and I rolled down my white knee socks
letting my thin legs dangle,
circling them just above water
and silver backs of minnows
flitting here then there between
the sun spots and the shadows.
Poems that have a unique voice reach out and grab me by the throat. This one does that to me.
February 8th – Poet As Fisherman, by James A. Emanuel
I have propped a well-thumbed book
against the butt of my favorite rod
and fished from my heart.
Yet, for my labors,
all I have to show
are tactics, lore—
so little I know
of that pea-sized brain I am casting for,
to think it could swim
with the phantom-words
that lure me to this shore.
Witty poem. Loved it.
February 9th – A Mermaid for a Day, by Vera Duggan
A mermaid I would like to be
Swimming in the deep blue sea
Taking in the many wonders
That were made for you and me.
Lovely, rhythmic poem. Left me feeling lighthearted and carefree throughout the rest of the day.
February 10th – The Fish, by Elizabeth Bishop
He hung a grunting weight,
battered and venerable
and homely. Here and there
his brown skin hung in strips
like ancient wallpaper,
and its pattern of darker brown
was like wallpaper:
shapes like full-blown roses
stained and lost through age.
The description in this poem floored me. I could have pasted any section here as my favorite, but I went with the beginning of the description so as not to spoil the ending if someone wanted to go read it. I was also struck by the line breaks. I wouldn’t have thought to place them in the same spots. It forced me to take a closer look at the poem and I liked that.
February 11th – Fishing on a Wooden Boat, by H. Blomberg
(no link included)
Today I went fishing
on a boat filled with bottles,
the whole time wishing
the boat wouldn’t sink.
The boat rocked
as it hit a rock (get it?).
I screamed for my mother,
who came at once.
Then a big fish jumped at me.
We rushed to the house.
Then fell asleep.
My daughter walked in while I was looking up one of the poems. We had a talk about poetry and she wanted to try her hand at it. This poem is her first try. Personally, I think she’s off to a great start. I love every word :).
Next week, I think I’ll go back to random poems. It’s been fun to look up poems with a specific theme, but adhering to rules takes away some of the fun.