Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 241

In case you haven’t seen it yet, I just wanted to share the first blog post review of my debut poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems. It touches on many of the things I was trying to do with my collection, so that was gratifying. Click here to read the review.

For this week’s prompt, write a fishy poem. I’ll let you decide how to take that. Perhaps, the poem is about a fishy situation or action; perhaps, the poem is about a fishy smell; or perhaps, the poem is about an actual fish, whether fresh or salt water.

Here’s my attempt at a fishy poem:

“Shrimp”
-as told by Will Brewer, age 4

Sharks aren’t real, but they are.
But they don’t swim where people swim.
People swim here, and sharks swim there
down where the little fishies swim.

I’ve seen 7-foot shrimp before.
They swim down by the sharks, and they
eat the sharks like this, and they swim like this.
They don’t protect little kids, but

they do like little kids.

*****

Workshop your poetry online. Click here to learn more.

*****

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor for the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and a father of five kids, including a 4-year-old boy named Will, who likes to talk about the food that he eats as he’s eating it. He’s also the author of Solving the World’s Problems and responsible for editing books like Writer’s Market, Poet’s Market, and Guide to Self-Publishing. When he’s not learning about the secret life of food from his children or creating books, he blogs about poetry. Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.

*****

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172 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 241

  1. Poet Ariel

    I close my eyes, cover them with fingertips
    And the oval fishbowl appears;
    I am peering through murky water & bubbles.
    My air? I can almost reach out to touch it

    Before it rises and fades from sight.
    I have lost my arms, my legs
    And my eyes have shifted;
    This is a not a pleasant transformation.

    Even just breathing is now an unfamiliar process;
    Taking in the chilled water, filling it pour
    Through the operculum of gills –
    I am sure I am not doing this right.

    Ariel
    Oct 19, 2013

  2. Poet Ariel

    I close my eyes, cover them with fingertips
    and the oval fishbowl appears;
    I am peering through murky water & bubbles.
    My air? I can almost reach out to touch it

    before it rises and fades from sight.
    I have lost my arms, my legs
    and my eyes have shifted;
    this is a not a pleasant transformation.

    Even just breathing is now an unfamiliar process;
    taking in the chilled water, filling it pour
    through the operculum of gills –
    I am sure I am not doing this right.

    Ariel
    Oct 19, 2013

  3. snuzcook

    SURFACE TENSION

    When a fish looks up,
    Does he see the sky?
    Or just the reflection
    Of himself looking back?

    When I look up
    Do I see the sky?
    Or just the reflection
    Of God looking back?

  4. Cin5456

    Jörmungandr & Thor

    Loki’s tail-eater shrugs sinewy coils;
    the fearful mighty mountains tremble.
    Sunken scale-ship slips beneath battering seas.
    In shifting ship-home the banished serpent roils
    the waves awake, sends following swell-storms ashore.
    Mjölnir’s handler dangles deep his dire ox-headed intent.
    World-shaker spies the fated baited line.
    Rising, the wave-raiser rides the linear trap.
    Black flat orbs meet sky blue lightening-gaze.
    Fates well set, but not well met, delays yet agreed.
    Down-diving, dragging ox-head wrenched away.
    Sings a Midgard madrigal of rightful revenge,
    of World’s End to snake’s-bane by venom-death.

      1. Cin5456

        Thanks. Tried to use kennings and alliteration like Old Norse forms; it’s about the Midgard Serpent and Thor encounter made famous in carvings 1400 years ago.

  5. sjmcken

    Fishy
    Our culture is a fishy one,
    a pungent assemblage
    of blatant self-interest
    and self-promotion,
    stinking of me-ism,
    reeking of greed,
    a pirate ethos,
    yo ho.

  6. Heather

    a little delayed, but here it is.

    Patience

    Gold eyes stare at me intently
    l cross the floor
    tail twitching in time
    with my footsteps
    sweeping the floor
    swish swish swish.

    Ears point back
    his face an exclamation point
    as he decides I’ve forgotten.
    But the drawer opens;
    somehow he knows
    I’m not after the ladle this time.

    He mewls a sound
    interrupted
    by contented vibrations
    as he wraps his tail
    gently around my leg.
    we walk side by side
    to his usual place.
    l pat his head
    set the dish down
    rewarding patience
    with something fishy.

    ~ also blogged at http://heatherbutton.com/2013/10/18/patience-a-poem/

  7. Benjamin Thomas

    Fish Alert (part 2)

    This dead meat
    Wreaks havoc
    on the olfactory

    This ol’ factory
    Put on strike

    Don’t eat the meat!
    Don’t eat the meat!

    These ol’ nerves
    Have been hacked

    All systems shut down!
    There’s been an attack!

    Reboot!

    Malicious code
    Straight to the brain

    Errant messages read:

    Don’t eat the meat!
    Don’t eat the meat!

    This ol’ barrel-a-stomach
    Sure as hell been stenched

    Violated ma’ appetite
    Turned wicked gut-wrenched

    Not to mention
    Soiled ma’ mind
    With this kinda thing

    This ol’ boy
    Don’t eat no fish

  8. Julieann

    Final Fishing Trip

    Two things made him happiest
    Wearing a uniform and fishing
    When his uniform wearing days ended
    He reveled in increased fishing time

    Between fishing trips he enjoyed
    Keeping his tackle in good repair
    Checking the reels, and line, and hooks
    Keeping them clean and ready

    He anticipated each fishing trip like
    A kid at Christmas, he’d wake before
    Dawn, and head out early enough to see
    The fiery sun ball rise over the bay

    Then one beautiful morning
    Before that sun came up
    St. Peter came to get him —
    To take him fishing in heaven

  9. danceswithhorses

    I should have known
    When you were two hours late for supper,
    I’d made your favorite;
    Grilled fish and fries.
    I should have known
    When it grew cold on the table
    Something was wrong.
    I should’ve seen
    When the black-and-white car
    Pulled into our drive.
    Slowly, defeated.
    But I thought it was a mistake
    Right up until
    The cop wouldn’t look me in eye
    I should’ve known something was fishy
    But I still thought there’d been a mistake
    Until he said, there’s been an accident.
    We tried to save him
    But we were too late.
    Gasping for air
    Like a fish out of water
    I tried to tell him he was wrong
    My husband’s coming home.
    It wasn’t until I saw you.
    I knew.
    No more mornings fishing,
    While I sunbathed on the deck.
    No more fish hooks in my hair
    When you forgot and hugged my neck.
    Our paradise for two has become
    A mausoleum of memories for one.

  10. Susan Schoeffield

    BEYOND THE SEA

    Fish
    smell bad.
    Not their fault.
    They can’t help it.
    It might begin when they’re pulled from the sea
    or wrapped in paper or put in a pan.
    Healthy choice, but
    I can’t get
    past the
    smell.

    © Susan Schoeffield

    1. PressOn

      Well, your title reminded me of one of my favorite songs, but the poem squelched that image and replaced it with an odor. Very effectively, I might add.

  11. elishevasmom

    After Glow

    I’ve lived nigh onto
    a quarter
    of my life
    near the Hudson River.

    And as any
    fisherman (even
    the rookiest)
    will tell you,

    there is this
    strict rule of
    ‘catch and release’
    on Everything you hook.

    Not so much ’cause its
    the law. Its more like
    if you want to
    glow in the dark.

    Ellen Knight
    10.17.13
    write a “fishy” poem for PA

      1. elishevasmom

        I’m not sure, now that you mention it. Which ever it is up in Albany. I know GE fouled it up pretty badly up there, and consequently downstream I would imagine.

  12. Dan

    Whale’s aren’t really fish but I tried

    A Song Beneath the Waves

    A glittering shard
    of ocean shining
    a song echoing
    beneath transient waves

    A blanket of water
    for sharks and squid
    for starfish
    and the whale

    A blue giant
    singing

    The loneliest
    they say
    a wet desert
    for companionship

    Constantly gliding
    deep
    deeper
    deepest

    You can see its silhouette
    behind the glass of sea
    It’s graceful shape
    swimming

    A low tone
    reverting
    empty
    hollow
    yet emotion
    within its makeshift syllables

    To swim with the whale
    would be bliss
    but I am no sea creature
    I can only witness
    it’s divinity
    from dry surface

    A glittering shard
    of ocean shining
    a song echoing
    beneath transient waves

    1. PressOn

      In my mind, this poem glides along with a slow majesty very reminiscent of a blue whale. You used “divinity” as part of your description, and it struck me that pondering a massive, majestic, and mysterious creature such as a great whale is akin to pondering a god, however described in various religions. You poem, in my view, works very well, especially in your identical stanzas at the beginning and end; another alpha and omega element, perhaps. I enjoyed reading this.

  13. viv

    THE PARLIAMENT OF THE SEA CREATURES

    ‘Hear ye, hear ye,’
    the trumpet fish waved his long snout
    ’The Boss is anxious to sort things out.
    He’s calling a meeting of all you chaps
    to right a few wrongs, so perhaps
    you would kindly make your way
    to the reef at eighteen degrees South
    by one four eight East
    on Sunday week at half past four. ’

    At the appointed hour Poseidon thumps his trident.
    You should have seen the throng:
    of whales and sharks and lion fish
    with cod and hake and herring;
    anemones and sea slugs
    sea cucumbers and angel fish,
    coral, fighting shy of parrot fish –
    it should have been a disaster
    but I quelled them with one Godly look.
    We’re here to talk, not nibble
    you can quibble later. I’m having my say
    and what I say goes.

    We need to keep a balance
    of species and varieties,
    so you must control your appetites.
    Give and be given, live and let live.
    It’s those blasted humans
    who’re spoiling the ocean for us –
    whose greed and careless waste
    cause  pain, pollution and worse.

    That’s what we’re here to discuss.
    Mutter mutter, argy bargy,
    piffle, waffle and baloney –
    after hours of fruitless discussion,
    the God’s expression stony,
    he came to a momentous decision.
    What I propose is to intervene
    with the Gods of storms and weather,
    but most of all with the human race
    to work together,
    clean up our act,
    save us all this bother.
    ‘Twas soon agreed by one and all
    that it was worth a try:
    the case was taken to Zeus, my brother,
    and won – unique in unanimity.

    1. Julieann

      Wow! Much food for thought. Yes, we humans have made a mess of it; wouldn’t it be grand if the fish could clean up after us. Ha-ha. We need to learn and clean up our own mess. Beautiful!

  14. seingraham

    JAMES WALKS HIS BETA

    All his father said upon learning
    James was being given
    a Siamese fighting fish
    for his birthday was,
    “Please – get one that looks
    like most of them – not special –
    easily replaceable, should he,
    you know, not live all that long”

    So, Nemo-Josh-Sam-Luke (named
    after all the children in James’
    mother’s day-home, plus the
    fish from the movie) is a lovely
    cerulean blue
    A typical, run-of-the-mill beta,
    happily swimming in circles
    in his small square aquarium

    The week after the fish joined
    the household, James’ mother
    was upstairs getting something
    while the kids were watching
    a movie downstairs

    She thought they were well-
    occupied as was usually the case
    when they had a movie on
    But she became aware of James
    talking softly and strained to
    listen…

    “C’mon Nemo-Josh-Sam-Lukie…”
    she heard, and then a clink
    followed by grunting and some
    slosh-slosh-slosh sounds
    “I take you to see da movie
    wid me…” slosh, slosh, slosh

    As James’ mother made her way
    quickly downstairs, she was
    just in time to see two year old
    James get settled on the couch
    with his fish in the bowl
    (and most of the water)
    She settled in to watch the rest
    of the movie and supervise
    fish and child until the end
    as James explained the salient
    points of the film to his pet

    It must have been taxing, this
    being a movie guide to a fish:
    James nodded off just as the
    movie wound to a finish
    and Mom was able to rescue
    the Beta and return it to a shelf,
    a higher shelf, no worse
    for having been travelling.
    It is a fish story unlike most
    you hear, I believe.

  15. Sara McNulty

    Fishing

    Attorneys go
    on fishing expeditions
    in court–no water,
    no fish. Goldfish are
    not made of gold.
    If they were, they could
    not navigate a bowl
    or pond. But, if you hear
    someone say, ‘He’s sleeping
    with the fishes,’ you can
    believe it.

  16. dandelionwine

    Fishing

    You’re strung along
    as we place a buffet
    of bait and wait to gain
    your trust. We search
    ahead while you peer
    back and the hook between
    gleams sharp and empty.

  17. bclay

    The One That Got Away

    You were not a dream or fantasy,
    to brag about with the guys, or to
    imagine what could have been or
    how great wall hangers should be.

    We were Pisces in the night sky,
    two fish tied tandem to the tether,
    escaping their world and Typhoon
    together, untill we had had enough.

    Everyone swore we were star crossed
    and troubled, snared by the same treble
    hook that tore into our throats as we cried
    love; I would bleed again for just another day.

  18. Cin5456

    The Best Fish Story of All

    Hard times and small catch wore him down,
    his lament for a good catch on dry cracked lips.
    Youth and vigor, and fisherman’s luck escaped
    his clutches, but he must fish for it is who he is.
    Santiago is a fisherman, and his identity
    holds his world together. He knows nothing
    else. Santiago will do what must be done.

    Without his young friend and assistant,
    the struggle for good luck and God’s
    good will weighs against determination,
    but he recalls the lions’ of Africa, and
    their courage and grace buoy his spirits.
    Setting out before dawn as usual,
    Santiago, the fisherman, goes to work;
    he goes to war against God’s elements.

    The strike, when it comes, is quick, and
    the marlin is wily and strong. Setting
    the hook requires finesse, and knowledge
    of whatever this fishy foe might try next.
    Once hooked good and proper, the battle begins.
    Patience, endurance, knowing his prey,
    and all the skills learned in his profession,
    for Santiago is an experienced fisherman,
    gives him great advantage over the marlin,
    whose only strength is in muscle and bone.
    Its size and vigor may exceed all others, but
    vigor alone cannot win in this contest.
    Ultimate victory requires strength of will.

    Strong back, strong shoulders, strong arms
    need the support of young, sinewy hands.
    Santiago’s hands are thick, bent, and knobbed.
    After two days of fighting his hands are
    numbed, crook’d, unresponsive; he almost
    gives in to despair, but Santiago is a fisherman.
    It’s what he knows. Nothing less
    than death will end his fishing career.

    Even victory is not triumphant against
    God’s elemental firmament. Fish is prey
    and prey is forever preyed upon. Sharks
    tear the carcass too large to haul aboard.
    His decimated prize amounts to nothing
    as he drags his own carcass ashore. Sleep
    calls him down past caring, until youth
    calls him by name. His young assistant praises
    his grace, his skill, his knowledge and good luck,
    even though his luck did not hold. Ah, but
    there is always the sea, and another day of fishing.
    For Santiago is a fisherman, good enough reason
    to go down to the sea.

      1. Cin5456

        Thank you Julieann and William. I think Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea was the third classic I ever read, after Dante’s Inferno and Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land.

  19. Jane Shlensky

    Caught

    I used to see the bruises on your arms,
    that haunted flinching look you couldn’t hide
    with twitchy smiles, makeup, and lowered lights.

    I worried for your teeth, for facial scars.
    I worried that your kids would be involved.
    I worried when that bastard was on shore

    and wondered in my heart how you could bear
    to sleep with someone who would hurt you so,
    to make a screaming life and raise his kids.

    Then you called me, euphoric. “Do you know
    how I found peace with him?” you ask me, glad.
    “We fish together now, sit side by side

    and let the fish draw near and take the bait.
    No sudden movement and no scary noise,
    for that would scare the fish.” You smile that smile.

    You talk of how much trust a fish must have
    to come in close to get a better look
    to nibble at the line and miss the hook,

    how some fish swish around for what seems hours
    as if they half remember tales of boats
    only to throw aside some fish’s tale

    and hook themselves, since knowledge comes too late.
    You said you watched them sometimes feeling sad,
    half wanting to warn them to swim away,

    but you could not surrender silence, peace,
    above the water where you sat with him.
    “He only needs a way to settle down,”

    you told me, “like he can be at the lake.
    I don’t know what exactly it will take
    but fishing is a start. The kids are small.”

    I meditate on images of you
    peaceful, happy, and safe along a shore,
    the sun just going down, pinking the world

    your boy and girl are calling in the fish,
    sprinkling bread crumbs on a glassy lake
    where none are caught and none need be released.

  20. Angel Villagomez

    THE GOLDFISH

    “The goldfish fell
    asleep,” his mother said,
    but the fish rose
    to the surface and never sank.
    It wouldn’t wake
    no matter how he tapped the glass.
    The bowl would shake,
    but still it bobbled on its back.

    The boy soon grew
    impatient. He found new playmates.
    A dog could speak
    its mind if he became too tough,
    a cat could scratch
    his hands if they refused to budge,
    but fish in bowls
    had no refuge when games became too rough.

    The mother flushed
    the fish without an elegy.
    The boy noticed
    nothing missing on his dresser.
    The cat had found
    a new place to sleep as well as refuge
    from the nosy dog.

  21. De Jackson

    Go Fish

    Do you have any 2s,
    you ask, and I check
    because maybe that
    will work. Maybe if
    I don’t show you all
    my cards, we can just
    couple a couple, and
    the rest will all fall
    into place, like some
    magic slush pile. But
    then I realize that my
    7s are missing, and
    I’ve been all out of
    10s for quite some
    time and it’s been
    awhile since I’ve even
    seen a 1. It was there
    last time I looked…and
    then before I know it I’ve
    played my whole hand
    and
    I’m hopelessly hooked.

    .

    1. Cin5456

      Go fish is just as compelling to me as an adult as it was as a child. Thank you for this. Now I remember why I liked being around kids so much before…I got older.

    2. Marie Elena

      Wow.

      WOW.

      How you can manage such a totally different take on the prompt, write so simply, and hook with SO MUCH MEANING just astounds me. But that you do this over and over and over, week after week, month after month, hear upon year upon year … WOW.

  22. Domino

    Swimming in the sea as a child
    I was enchanted and somehow repelled
    by the water: glassy smooth, inevitable.
    I could see the impurities, though
    not in a disturbing way, but in a way
    that made me understand,
    this was living water.
    The salty taste taken by mistake
    when gulping for air after an
    insistent wave made me feel
    both infected and accepted.

    Tidepools and their infinite mystery:
    what will happen if we poke that
    squishy thing, or try to catch
    the sea star or baby octopus.
    Lingering far too long
    until we had to hurry back to shore
    lest we be caught by the tide.

    Walking on the beach
    was a fascination because
    one never knew what would
    wash up; shells, shark eggs,
    kelp in various measured lengths,
    sticky tar that accumulated on
    our feet, pieces of jellyfish,
    smoothed stones, some with
    holes already pre-drilled,
    and beautiful sea glass, a jeweled
    treasure beautiful enough to keep
    forever. Where the pieces went
    were a mystery, but by the end of
    the summer, they were all gone with
    the holed stones and dried bits of kelp
    as well as the fishy smelling paper bag
    we’d kept under the bed.

    Driftwood was a favorite
    because we learned early on
    that driftwood fires burn in colors,
    as if they’ve soaked up the colorful
    second life of an undersea fantasy
    in their post-tree career.
    They stored their story as minerals,
    making the wood into brittle, smoothed
    and randomly shaped pieces that were just
    what was wanted of a cool night.

    Being that close to so much life
    is an emotional thing for a shy kid,
    a thinking child who immersed herself
    overlong in books and fairy tales.
    Trying to express the appreciation
    for the life of the sea, the great
    immensity of life as a whole and
    as the little bits we spied from here
    on land, and not finding any words.
    The best response I ever got to my
    rumination was something like,
    “Ya know, fish pee in the water, haw haw.”

    Not what I was looking for,
    and fragile feelers swept back,
    internalizing frustration with my
    inability to share the welled-up
    emotion. I had to wait to be taken
    seriously, when as an adult I
    shared the introspection that has always
    been part of me, and people
    have no idea what I mean,
    shake their heads, and remark about
    the fish again.

    Haw haw.

    Diana Terrill Clark

  23. De Jackson

    Does a fish need a bicycle?

    Only once she knows which way she
    wants to go, and how to get there by her

    own worn self. Only if she wants to feel
    the wind in her sails and the sun on her

    scales, fins finally fanned, heart racing
    chasing a truth that swimming can no

    longer bring. Only when her heart and
    mind are for once on the same dry page

    and far behind are her drowning days
    and she owns her own ocean. And then,

    only a sturdy, stable model with a
    strong seat, quiet beat, willing wings.

    .

  24. taylor graham

    FISH

    Behind houses, a reedy pond beckons.

    A little boy begs his father, take me
    fishing. Just me. Leave my sister home.

    The sister gazes out across the pond,
    its water secrets of moon and mud,
    dabbling-ducks, frogs, and dragonflies.

    They go back home. But the pond

    longs for a boy sleek as underwater
    fishes, gilled to swim more deeply.
    While sister dreams and father dozes,

    the pond calls a boy for its own.

    1. JRSimmang

      Thanks Cin.

      There’s another I should think to add:

      CURVED GLASS
      Here, the walls bend inward and shadows
      cast on curves. I wonder how doors close
      when they must open so strangely… Lately,
      I find solace when the black cat goes.

      – JR Simmang

  25. JRSimmang

    TO AND FRO

    Pa liked to stand on the bank,
    jus’ before the water broke
    over his shoes.
    He walked it like a
    tight-rope walker,
    shufflin’ his feet like one
    misstep would send him
    fallin’ down, down, down,
    into the open arms of the
    ground.

    ‘Course, he never fell,
    and if he din’t get a bite in
    a hour or two,
    he’d pick another spot jus’
    a little ways down.

    When I turned 13, round the time
    the leaves started turning
    and peenchin’ themselves off
    the branches,
    he woke me at quarter ’til dawn,
    his big finger coverin’ his lips,
    shushin’ me ‘fore I even got a chance
    to say good mornin’.
    He shoved my clothes at me,
    tossed my boots onto the bed,
    threw my hat at my head,
    and placed the rod next to my door
    delicately, like it were coated
    in my dreams I had yet to wake from.

    We got in the truck,
    crept outta the driveway,
    and stopped a mile from the hole.

    The sun was jus’ startin’ to creep over the
    hills. Nothin’ was awake, ‘cept us
    boys, and the world belonged
    to us.

    In the silence of the mornin’
    he taught me his shuffle,
    navigatin’ the fine thread of
    water like a weaver.
    And that’s what pa was,
    a weaver, his fat fingers
    caressing the thread,
    spinnin’ it out and into the loom,
    breathin’ in the freshness of the
    world, still virginal, still pure,
    still untouched.

    In the dark, we felt our way
    around the lake, letting the
    gentle waves guide our feet.
    He told me not to get too close,
    I’d know when the soil started
    suckin’ on my boots that I was about
    to cross that line into their world.
    And, they can’t share their world
    with us, and vice versa.

    When the sun started comin’ up,
    I noticed that even the dead trees,
    still hangin’ on to their roots like memories,
    looked alive in their reflections.
    Pa’s right, nothin’ dies down there.

    Ev’ry once in a while, we’d get a bite,
    a little fishy swimmin’ along its
    usual path, entranced by a dangling
    bit of food.

    And, I gotta say, if I was walkin’ along,
    seein’ some food dangling magically
    from the sky,
    I jus’ might take a bite too.

    -JR Simmang

  26. Linda Hatton

    Great poem, Will! 🙂
    Here is mine:

    Eighteen Feet

    Oh, sea monster found
    off the coast of Catalina,
    your weighty carcass carried
    by sea sand and waves
    the way it did when you were
    swimming. Sixteen
    people hoisted you out, clutching
    at eely skin, your power
    plucked away by seedy depths
    of death’s grasp, planting
    gripping nightmares of sea
    creatures in all who dare dip
    with risk of mystifying
    creatures, set to visit
    during closed-eyed midnight
    dips, shock us back to the reality
    we are not the lone
    commanding inhabitants
    of this great planet.

    http://whatnotshop.blogspot.com/2013/10/eighteen-feet-sea-monsters-do-exist.html#.Ul7UzVBQGSp

    1. Domino

      I read that article today, wondering if my life would have included carrying sea monsters as this biologist’s did, if I had followed my original plan and been an oceanographer.

      Well done, Linda.

    2. Cin5456

      The oarfish found off Catalina Island! I love this reminder that its origins are steeped in deep mystery, only recently filmed in its habitat. When I saw the video of one floating in the deep, I had no idea they were that huge. Excellent poem.

  27. Clae

    On Fairy Tales

    A man of skill
    Great wit and will
    Once wrote a tail
    Of gill and scale
    A mermaid pale
    With fin and tail
    Whose love could reach
    Beyond the beach
    Bargain made- feet for her voice
    Walked on knives by her own choice
    For a prince whose love she lacked
    For his heart she is thrown back
    To die alone
    As salted foam
    From sea to air
    Love and despair
    This story changed
    Still stays the same
    Salt, angel or bride
    An end we decide

  28. Nancy Posey

    Keepers

    So sporting of you,
    your philosophy of catch
    and release—remove the hook
    with care and set him free
    back to his old school.

    Don’t blame me if,
    instead, I gather my catch
    like charms on a bracelet,
    metal clip in the mouth,
    out the gill, submerge
    until I head home,
    to clean the mess—
    a perfect collective noun—

    scraping the sequined scales,
    beheading, cleaning
    the cavity of heart, eggs,
    float bladder,
    leaving nothing but meat
    clean and white
    against the fragile bone
    of bream, crappie, maybe
    a small-mouthed bass

    suitable for rolling in meal,
    deep-frying in hot oil
    in black cast-iron, dinner
    fine enough for a king,
    eaten with the memory
    fresh of the weight
    on my line, the bobber
    tugged down before
    the final fight.

  29. Cin5456

    Fishing with Father

    Deep emerald wilderness
    Shadows of Dad, long legs
    stretched toward the fire
    Beckoning of bacon
    from a dawn campfire
    In the sunrise, speckles
    dance across water

    Flashing silver minnows
    squiggly worms in rich loam
    bamboo pole, bobbers and hooks
    skiff lapped by sloshing waves
    mysteries beneath translucent
    reflections of a jade-green
    forest beneath cerulean sky

    1. Julieann

      I’ve never experienced it just so, but your picture brings to mind so many fishing trips with Dad. Memories not to be forgotten. You have painted a wonderful picture.

    2. PressOn

      This is another poem, like Nancy’s above, that is so clearly drawn, it might as well be a series of photographs. I especially like “jade-green forest beneath cerulean sky”. Wonderful.

  30. Cameron Steele

    Falling in Love with a Fish

    On rainy days I pretend I have gills
    and scales on my hips
    seashells against my heart.

    Maybe I sing or use my tail
    to spin circles around the man
    with black boots and a dark smile.

    He comes every morning with hook
    and line smelling of eels and barnacles
    and salt cuts on hardened palms.

    Sometimes mother trades him:
    hemmed pants for strippers
    or spot fish, a haircut if he’s got

    clams. In the sun it’s easy to see
    his rough throat and my own;
    the struggle to breathe on cold

    mornings. Light has a way of
    revealing humanity as it is, weak
    and steady and ready to barter.

    But when it rains, when water
    catches in trees and gutter —
    pools like mirrors against dirt —

    everything changes. The world
    is just some wet shadow and a man
    can’t hide what he used to be:

    a fish or better yet a frog
    hopping from one bent leg to
    the other, begging the mermaid

    in front of him to pick him up
    and kiss him on the throat.
    Perhaps we owe the fisherman

    grace or at the very least a meal
    before the storm. Mother will feed him
    and keep her eyes on his wet boots.

    I pity those sore feet and curled toes.
    If I smile at him, it’s only because of this:
    Mermaids have always turned fishermen into fish.

  31. Cin5456

    More than Five Senses

    These weak human eyes perceive
    fewer colors than dogs or chickens,
    and yet we see injustice clearly.

    Our weak human ears cannot hear
    extreme tones like dogs and elephants,
    and yet we hear bigotry in speeches.

    The weak human nose misses aromas
    that our pets take for granted,
    and yet we know the stink of lies.

    We cannot feel the precursors of
    earthquakes days early, like catfish,
    and yet we are sensitive to rejection.

    In fact, tasty treats mean more to catfish
    with over one hundred thousand receptors,
    and yet humans know the taste of freedom.

    Yes, humans are weak, underdeveloped; we’re
    perhaps deprived without discerning senses,
    and we lack sensitivity to the physical world
    and yet…

    We feel the pain of our brothers and sisters,
    the weak, the poor, and the hungry,
    and their cries for freedom ring in our ears.

  32. PowerUnit

    Accounting Class
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uF8XCKow7_4

    It would be fishy if a student in my class
    Didn’t give me any sass
    Shut me out with shiny green headphones
    Hide against the wall, buried in those hooded domes
    Didn’t dress like an undertaker’s cat
    Or wear a zebra suit, with hat

    It would be an oddity of the ages
    If they weren’t pretending to be mages
    Eating the latest designer popcorn
    Or surfing the web for the latest teen porn
    Arguing the physics of Star Wars stasis
    I know the bottoms of their feet better than their faces

    I’d be shocked if they came one day
    And said we will pay attention to what you have to say
    We know accounting is important
    Did somebody get a personality transplant?
    We know we need it to get by
    Can you help me tie my tie?

  33. vjohnso1

    Upon a fishy threshold
    As far as I can see
    I came upon a fishers hook
    Located next to me

    I looked around the river
    No people here or there
    The hook just made me quiver
    It showed me that I cared

    So as I thought about it
    Fishing crossing my mind
    But I will leave the poor fish alone
    Well maybe just this time…….

    The moral of my poem
    As pretentious as it may seem
    I’ll never turn down a chance to fish
    So this poem was just a dream

        1. Cin5456

          I always thought dyslexia would benefit a poet because of the tendency to use juxtaposition. 😉 Personally, I think that kind of poetry, like Cummings’ work, is wonderful.

          Besides, I post too fast all the time. You’re not alone.

  34. PressOn

    Robert, Just to follow up on the blog post review: I’ve had your book for several weeks now. I’ve gone back to it often, and often, I find something new, even from poems I’ve read many times. Congratulations again.

  35. Julieann

    Robert, your “Shrimp” poem reminded me of a little ditty my Mom taught me when I was two or three. I’ll make my own poem later, but wanted to share this one now.

    Fishy, fishy in the brook
    Daddy catch you on a hook
    Mommy fry you in a pan
    Julie eat you like a man

  36. barbara_y

    Footnote to a snapshot

    The book of my father’s divided in three:
    family, work. Fishing.

    He was born in late August, in Tennessee a time of drought,
    so he may not have been born fishing.

    He tied his life up neat and proper. Made Thanksgiving dinner,
    rested Friday, died fishing.

    When the weather starts to cool again and fog settles on the water,
    I think of fishing.

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