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Michael Shepherd

Rookie (8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

0017 The Philosophical Goldfish

Doctors’ waiting rooms.
Dentists’ waiting rooms.
Goldfish etc.

What have goldfish done,
what fishy business have they been up to
in the murky underworld of the unpoliced,
to be incarcerated in public view
of the apprehensive, the fearful,
the distressed out of mind, those bearing
all the myriad aches and pains
that flesh is heir to?

Looking up from the Horse and Hound Gazette
which I noticed I was holding upside down
my eye was caught – or did he, or she, catch mine first? -
as if it heard my thoughts about its welfare

It swam towards me, pressed its mouth against the glass
in perfect O-shape as if singing,
or perhaps sounding some universal Om
(the final consonant difficult to catch for the dry-eared)
and it seemed to wish to communicate.

I sensed it was not a cry for help (and indeed,
what help could have offered, without
a plastic bag and in view of others who still
believed me sane? No, it seemed
peaceful but chatty; even helpfully inclined.

I got up, walked discreetly as if calmly passing time
and – almost tempted to kiss the glass, but instead
simply mouthing a friendly mwaa –
and though my lip-reading isn’t all it could be,
I believe I identified this message:

‘As above, so below;
as without, so within’

Sometimes one’s view of Creation
seems to have been hitherto
singularly unimaginative

Submitted: Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Edited: Friday, December 08, 2006

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  • Rookie kskdnj sajn (6/11/2006 11:40:00 AM)

    Enjoyed this write Michael. My fish (though should have died over a year ago) , and I have a unique connection, both loving routine..'Segua' will say hello, then swim to the corner to wait until I dropp little bits of shredded gifts. Not all fish are brainless. :) This poem unique. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Scarlett Treat (6/7/2006 1:57:00 PM)

    OK, I will admit it! We as humans think we are the King of the Castle! How very little we know! ! ! Marvelously philosophical, Mikey, but I expect non-the-less from you. Scarlett (Report) Reply

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