Apr '13 20
I usually rescue a poem from prose texts (read here about my rescue process).

Today, however, I thought I'd rescue a poem from two poems, each called 'The Fish'. One is by Marianne Moore and the other is by Elizabeth Bishop.

I read Elizabeth Bishop's poem once, quite some time ago, and I still haven't read Marianne Moore's poem, so I am not yet familiar with the content of either poem.

The surprise with the poem I rescued is that it's not about fish at all.

I love surprises, and I love this rescue process.


terrible things
in an ancient, sun-cracked face
age burns like hatchet sun
its swiftness, weapon-like:
                marks not mine are mine.
orange crimped feathers
white lilies
big spread rainbow of shiny glass
are rusted tinfoil.
                marks not mine are mine.
crisp yellowed stare
from my eyes like medals –
not medals,
like barnacles,
like sea stars;
my grim wisdom, grunting,
lip down, sullen,
shafts of fight
abuse my aching jaw,
rainbow strokes the turquoise water
rainbow shapes speckled jelly-fish
rainbow keeps fish of youth submerged.
                marks not mine are mine.
everything is here:
my strips of tarnished skin
are rust-brown evidence
of a shiny edifice
tremendous heavier flesh
attached to tiny little bones.

Posted by Jennifer Liston

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  1. Mike says:

    *I love this Jen. Can't put my finger on it. The repetition is very effective - well chosen lines to repeat.

  2. Jen says:

    *Thanks so much Mike. Yeah, I put that line together and I just wanted to say it again and again and again and... ah well, you get my drift.

  3. Alison says:

    *Another really great one, Jen. Can't believe you've managed something this good in such a short space of time! I like 'shafts of fight/ abuse my aching jaw' and the repetition is great!

  4. Jen says:

    *Thanks so much for the lovely feedback Alison! xo

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