Monday, October 15, 2007

Let's Hear it for the Fish

Intagliod Super-Likes Eliot Wilson and Eliot Wilson Likes Eavan Boland and so...
(Intagliod shows EKW some Medbh McGuckian and he passes along some Eavan. So when Poetry Daily was retiring this poem and when I read it, I had to post it.)
(For Eliot, Michael G. and Drusilla Adler)

House of Shadows. Home of Simile

One afternoon of summer rain
my hand skimmed a shelf and I found
an old florin. Ireland, 1950.

We say like or as and the world is
a fish minted in silver and alloy,

an outing for all the children,
an evening in the Sandford cinema,
a paper cone of lemonade crystals and

say it again so we can see
androgyny of angels, edges to a circle,
the way the body works against the possible—

and no one to tell us, now or ever,
why it ends, why
it always ends.

I am holding
two whole shillings of nothing,
observing its heaviness, its uselessness.

And how in the cool shadow of nowhere
a salmon leaps up to find a weir
it could not even know
was never there.

Eavan Boland
Poetry
October 2006


This next was given to me on a hard, hard Monday some years back. Michael Griffith, writer and human-extraordinaire sent this along on a most necessary day. In addition to its gorgeousness, it reminds me of an image I used in a poem of a round loaf of bread fallen into the harbor in Rhodes and the ecstatic silver chrysanthemum of sardines spinning it for all they were worth.

The Past
by Stephen Dunn

Herrings begin to glow just before they die,

never while alive. When I read this

I wanted to sit for a long time in the dark.

Nothing in nature is a metaphor.

Everything is. I thought both thoughts.

And knew inexactly why I felt sad.

Herrings dead and aglow--

I should have been properly amazed,

the way anyone looking at a star

would be, realizing it was years away,

untouchable. Yet there it is, shining.

4 comments:

Chicky Wang said...

I heart that fish poem. I think your silver chrysanthemum spinning the loaf is a doozy.

CLAUDINE BARROWS said...

I mentioned you on my blog today. Something to do with Yiddish brilliance.

a-smk said...

I miss my girl-tribe. We need to gather around hot beverages--a house party with mulled wine and hot toddies and hot cocoa with gourmet marshmallows? Yes, I think one must occur. We'll do napkin poems and talk about boys: "that unwashed Irishman" that Chicky mocks me for lusting after and we'll sing the "Mount the...Yiddishly-Eloquent Livewire-Boys" song and we'll wear wigs, of course. I want to be Lana Turner.

a-smk said...

P.S. Some days I recall that mount is a useful verb that has many outstanding definitions. I'm not exactly saying "if you can't..."