One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Marianne Moore's "The Fish" (1921)

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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