Robert William Service (16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)
Oh you who are shy of the popular eye,
(Though most of us seek to survive it)
Just think of the goldfish who wanted to die
Because she could never be private.
There are pebbles and reeds for aquarium needs
Of eel and of pike who are bold fish;
But who gives a thought to a sheltering spot
For the sensitive soul of a goldfish?
So the poor little thing swam around in a ring,
In a globe of a crystalline crudity;
Swam round and swam round, but no refuge she found
From the public display of her nudity;
No weedy retreat for a cloister discreet,
From the eye of the mob to exempt her;
Can you wonder she paled, and her appetite failed,
Till even a fly couldn't tempt her?
I watched with dismay as she faded away;
Each day she grew slimmer and slimmer.
From an amber hat burned, to a silver she turned
Then swiftly was dimmer and dimmer.
No longer she gleamed, like a spectre she seemed,
One morning I anxiously sought her:
I only could stare - she no longer was there . . .
She'd simply dissolved in the water.
So when you behold bright fishes of gold,
In globes of immaculate purity;
Just think how they'd be more contented and free
If you gave them a little obscurity.
And you who make laws, get busy because
You can brighten he lives of untold fish,
If its sadness you note, and a measure promote
To Ensure Private Life For The Goldfish.
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