The Fish -

- By Marianne Moore
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Marianne Craig Moore (November 15, 1887 – February 5, 1972) was an American modernist poet, critic, translator, and editor. Her poetry is noted for formal innovation, precise diction, irony, and wit. Moore was born in Kirkwood, Missouri, in the manse of the Presbyterian church where her maternal grandfather, John Riddle Warner, served as pastor. Her father, John Milton Moore, a mechanical engineer and inventor, suffered a psychotic episode, as a consequence of which her parents separated before she was born; Moore never met him. She and her elder brother, John Warner Moore, were reared by their mother, Mary Warner Moore. The family wrote voluminous letters to one another throughout their lives, often addressing each other by playful nicknames and using a private language.
The Fish
wade
through black jade.
       Of the crow-blue mussel-shells, one keeps
       adjusting the ash-heaps;
              opening and shutting itself like
 
an
injured fan.
       The barnacles which encrust the side
       of the wave, cannot hide
              there for the submerged shafts of the
 
sun,
split like spun
       glass, move themselves with spotlight swiftness
       into the crevices—
              in and out, illuminating
 
the
turquoise sea
       of bodies. The water drives a wedge
       of iron through the iron edge
              of the cliff; whereupon the stars,
 
pink
rice-grains, ink-
       bespattered jelly fish, crabs like green
       lilies, and submarine
              toadstools, slide each on the other.
 
All
external
       marks of abuse are present on this
       defiant edifice—
              all the physical features of
             
ac-
cident—lack
       of cornice, dynamite grooves, burns, and
       hatchet strokes, these things stand
              out on it; the chasm-side is
 
dead.
Repeated
       evidence has proved that it can live
       on what can not revive
              its youth. The sea grows old in it.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Credit: 
This poem is in the public domain.
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Rating: A

Words: 402

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