Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Fish by Marianne Moore


The Fish

wade
through black jade.
       Of the crow-blue mussel-shells, one keeps
       adjusting the ash-heaps;
              opening and shutting itself like 

an
injured fan.
       The barnacles which encrust the side
       of the wave, cannot hide
              there for the submerged shafts of the 

sun,
split like spun
       glass, move themselves with spotlight swiftness
       into the crevices—
              in and out, illuminating 

the
turquoise sea
       of bodies. The water drives a wedge
       of iron through the iron edge
              of the cliff; whereupon the stars, 

pink
rice-grains, ink-
       bespattered jelly fish, crabs like green
       lilies, and submarine
              toadstools, slide each on the other. 

All
external
       marks of abuse are present on this
       defiant edifice—
              all the physical features of

ac-
cident—lack
       of cornice, dynamite grooves, burns, and
       hatchet strokes, these things stand
              out on it; the chasm-side is 

dead.
Repeated
       evidence has proved that it can live
       on what can not revive
              its youth. The sea grows old in it.

 

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