Howard Nemerov

(29 February 1920 – 5 July 1991 / New York City, New York)

The Goose Fish


On the long shore, lit by the moon
To show them properly alone,
Two lovers suddenly embraced
So that their shadows were as one.
The ordinary night was graced
For them by the swift tide of blood
That silently they took at flood,
And for a little time they prized
Themselves emparadised.

Then, as if shaken by stage-fright
Beneath the hard moon's bony light,
They stood together on the sand
Embarrassed in each other's sight
But still conspiring hand in hand,
Until they saw, there underfoot,
As though the world had found them out,
The goose fish turning up, though dead,
His hugely grinning head.

There in the china light he lay,
Most ancient and corrupt and grey.
They hesitated at his smile,
Wondering what it seemed to say
To lovers who a little while
Before had thought to understand,
By violence upon the sand,
The only way that could be known
To make a world their own.

It was a wide and moony grin
Together peaceful and obscene;
They knew not what he would express,
So finished a comedian
He might mean failure or success,
But took it for an emblem of
Their sudden, new and guilty love
To be observed by, when they kissed,
That rigid optimist.

So he became their patriarch,
Dreadfully mild in the half-dark.
His throat that the sand seemed to choke,
His picket teeth, these left their mark
But never did explain the joke
That so amused him, lying there
While the moon went down to disappear
Along the still and tilted track
That bears the zodiac.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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

Form:


Read poems about / on: moon, success, together, fish, smile, light, world, alone, dark, night, fishing, kiss

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 (The Goose Fish by Howard Nemerov )

Read all 2 comments »

Famous Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  3. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  4. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. Caged Bird
    Maya Angelou
  8. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  9. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  10. A Dream Within A Dream
    Edgar Allan Poe
Trending Poets
Trending Poems
  1. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  2. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  3. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  4. If, Rudyard Kipling
  5. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  6. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  7. A Dream Within A Dream, Edgar Allan Poe
  8. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
  9. Invictus, William Ernest Henley
  10. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
[Hata Bildir]