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The Fish - Poem by Elizabeth Bishop

I caught a tremendous fish
and held him beside the boat
half out of water, with my hook
fast in a corner of his mouth.
He didn't fight.
He hadn't fought at all.
He hung a grunting weight,
battered and venerable
and homely. Here and there
his brown skin hung in strips
like ancient wallpaper,
and its pattern of darker brown
was like wallpaper:
shapes like full-blown roses
stained and lost through age.
He was speckled with barnacles,
fine rosettes of lime,
and infested
with tiny white sea-lice,
and underneath two or three
rags of green weed hung down.
While his gills were breathing in
the terrible oxygen
- the frightening gills,
fresh and crisp with blood,
that can cut so badly-
I thought of the coarse white flesh
packed in like feathers,
the big bones and the little bones,
the dramatic reds and blacks
of his shiny entrails,
and the pink swim-bladder
like a big peony.
I looked into his eyes
which were far larger than mine
but shallower, and yellowed,
the irises backed and packed
with tarnished tinfoil
seen through the lenses
of old scratched isinglass.
They shifted a little, but not
to return my stare.
- It was more like the tipping
of an object toward the light.
I admired his sullen face,
the mechanism of his jaw,
and then I saw
that from his lower lip
- if you could call it a lip
grim, wet, and weaponlike,
hung five old pieces of fish-line,
or four and a wire leader
with the swivel still attached,
with all their five big hooks
grown firmly in his mouth.
A green line, frayed at the end
where he broke it, two heavier lines,
and a fine black thread
still crimped from the strain and snap
when it broke and he got away.
Like medals with their ribbons
frayed and wavering,
a five-haired beard of wisdom
trailing from his aching jaw.
I stared and stared
and victory filled up
the little rented boat,
from the pool of bilge
where oil had spread a rainbow
around the rusted engine
to the bailer rusted orange,
the sun-cracked thwarts,
the oarlocks on their strings,
the gunnels- until everything
was rainbow, rainbow, rainbow!
And I let the fish go.

Comments about The Fish by Elizabeth Bishop

  • Rookie Joey Kelvin Hall (7/12/2018 7:15:00 AM)

    thx good way to copy it (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • Rookie Dr Squinty Eyes (5/10/2018 9:42:00 AM)

    Ya poem...WHACK Ya rhythm... WHACK Ya repetition...WHACK But me...I’m TIGHT AS FUCK (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Vjryyyyy (11/10/2017 7:01:00 AM)

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    Rookie NuNu Jackson (2/22/2018 3:29:00 PM)

    On My Momma It Is Hate Reading Stuff Like This It Make 0 Sense Like fr fr

    | Delete this reply
Read all 22 comments »

Poems About Fish

  1. 1. The Fish , Elizabeth Bishop
  2. 2. The Fish , Marianne Moore
  3. 3. We Fish , Herman Melville
  4. 4. Our Biggest Fish , Eugene Field
  5. 5. The Fish , William Butler Yeats
  6. 6. To A Fish , James Henry Leigh Hunt
  7. 7. Fish And Shadow , Ezra Pound
  8. 8. Fish ‘n Chips - Food Of Life , Mark R Slaughter
  9. 9. Yes, The Fish Music , Richard Brautigan
  10. 10. What Fish Feel , Matsuo Basho
  11. 11. Fish Crier , Carl Sandburg
  12. 12. The Goose Fish , Howard Nemerov
  13. 13. I Laugh When I Hear That The Fish In The.. , Kabir
  14. 14. Fish , Keki Daruwalla
  15. 15. A Fish Answers , James Henry Leigh Hunt
  16. 16. Live Like Fish , gajanan mishra
  17. 17. Fish, The , Rupert Brooke
  18. 18. Upon The Fish In The Water , John Bunyan
  19. 19. The Sea’s Fish , Naveed Akram
  20. 20. I'Ll Eat The Fish , Lawrence S. Pertillar
  21. 21. Plenty Of Fish In The Sea But I Only See.. , Jennifer Alejandra
  22. 22. Y/ Flying Fish , Aufie Zophy
  23. 23. Flying Fish , Gert Strydom
  24. 24. I Am A Fish! , Arta Krasniqi
  25. 25. The Snake And The Fish , Asif Andalib
  26. 26. World Sea Fish Extinction Crisis , Terence George Craddock (Spe ..
  27. 27. Blue Fish , Edward Kofi Louis
  28. 28. If You Give Someone A Fish , Ahmad Shiddiqi
  29. 29. The Lung Fish , Banjo Paterson
  30. 30. The Fish , Rupert Brooke
  31. 31. Carps - Fish Of Luck , john tiong chunghoo
  32. 32. Aquarium Fish , Padraic Colum
  33. 33. The Caesuras Of A Fish Tailed Palm Tree , Robert Rorabeck
  34. 34. 'Super Sweet Angel Fish' , Dr.V.K. Kanniappan
  35. 35. Fish And Mind Haiku , john tiong chunghoo
  36. 36. Who Taught The Little Fish To Swim , Juan Olivarez
  37. 37. Big Fish Small Pond , JOE POEWHIT
  38. 38. The Carpenter Fish , Diane Hine
  39. 39. Like Fish In A Young Aquarium , Robert Rorabeck
  40. 40. What The Fish-Man Said , John Carter Brown
  41. 41. A Fish Story , Edwina Reizer
  42. 42. How To Fish , Edward Kofi Louis
  43. 43. Fish Pond , Edward Kofi Louis
  44. 44. Fish , Larry Levis
  45. 45. Surf For Other Fish , Lawrence S. Pertillar
  46. 46. Haiku - What The Fish Feel , john tiong chunghoo
  47. 47. English Fish And Chips , Marilyn Lott
  48. 48. Fish Food , Otteri Selvakumar
  49. 49. Of All The Fish In All The Sea And She... , Dónall Dempsey
  50. 50. Fish Swim , Shaun Shane
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