Learn More

Nancy Willard


A Wreath To The Fish


Who is this fish, still wearing its wealth,
flat on my drainboard, dead asleep,
its suit of mail proof only against the stream?
What is it to live in a stream,
to dwell forever in a tunnel of cold,
never to leave your shining birthsuit,
never to spend your inheritance of thin coins?
And who is the stream, who lolls all day
in an unmade bed, living on nothing but weather,
singing, a little mad in the head,
opening her apron to shells, carcasses, crabs,
eyeglasses, the lines of fisherman begging for
news from the interior-oh, who are these lines
that link a big sky to a small stream
that go down for great things:
the cold muscle of the trout,
the shinning scrawl of the eel in a difficult passage,
hooked-but who is this hook, this cunning
and faithful fanatic who will not let go
but holds the false bait and the true worm alike
and tears the fish, yet gives it up to the basket
in which it will ride to the kitchen
of someone important, perhaps the Pope
who rejoices that his cook has found such a fish
and blesses it and eats it and rises, saying,
"Children, what is it to live in the stream,
day after day, and come at last to the table,
transfigured with spices and herbs,
a little martyr, a little miracle;
children, children, who is this fish?"

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Do you like this poem?
1 person liked.
0 person did not like.

What do you think this poem is about?



Read poems about / on: fish, children, weather, sky, fishing, child, rose

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (A Wreath To The Fish by Nancy Willard )

Enter the verification code :

  • Bronze Star - 5,623 Points * Sunprincess * (6/26/2014 8:05:00 AM)

    ...............an interesting and thought provoking write....fish have interesting lives...happy birthday nancy! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Jacob Russell (5/23/2007 6:17:00 PM)

    Water Walker, a collection of Willard's poems has one I come back to again again-her 'Foxes Fall to St. Francis' from the poems with title borrowed from sport page headlines.

    Other favorites from that book: In Praise of Unwashed Feet and Magician's Wives.

    I wish there were more of her poems.

    Jacob Russell (Report) Reply

Read all 4 comments »

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. Moisture, Chideraza Lowell
  2. Bharatheeyakavitha, dr.k.g.balakrishnan kandangath
  3. Not A Sound, Tango Tango
  4. - People? - (Haiku), Joe Muschaweck
  5. 男人赋, qin xing
  6. Genetic Predisposition Towords Violence, Is It Poetry
  7. Wild Is The Churning Of The Winds, Lawrence S. Pertillar
  8. Honesty, Nassy Fesharaki
  9. Do Not Be Serious, Kumarmani Mahakul
  10. 24/7, Lawrence S. Pertillar

Poem of the Day

poet Ralph Waldo Emerson

Knows he who tills this lonely field
To reap its scanty corn,
What mystic fruit his acres yield
At midnight and at morn?

In the long sunny afternoon,
...... Read complete »

   

Trending Poems

  1. 04 Tongues Made Of Glass, Shaun Shane
  2. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  3. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  4. On Turning Ten, Billy Collins
  5. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  6. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  7. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  8. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  9. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  10. A Smile To Remember, Charles Bukowski

Trending Poets

[Hata Bildir]