Monday, March 8, 2010

The Fish - March 8, 2010

The first fish

I ever caught

would not lie down

quiet in the pail

but flailed and sucked

at the burning

amazement of the air

and died

in the slow pouring off

of rainbows...

...and ate him. Now the sea

is in me: I am the fish, the fish

glitters in me..certain to fall

back to the sea. Out of pain,

and pain, and more pain

we feed this feverish plot, we are nourished

by the mystery.

In wonder this morning I marvel how Mary catches my heart when it comes to fish. These days I prefer to snorkel to gaze at a fish's rainbow. This image captures Mary's poem yesterday, "White Night" where she merges with life through floating in water, not hunting in water. In the past, the way I knew to see the rainbow covenant born in fish flesh, was to hunt them with pole and line. And to eat them. The desire to have the sea flow in me in form that my brain gets, that is to eat fish, has not lessened over the years of my vegetarian path. By opting to not eat fish, I have not achieved the lessening of pain, for the mystery and pain of the cycle of life still pries open my heart whether I partake or not. The mystery fills my heart with awe, anew, in reading this poem and images of fish glitter in my mind.

What comes to your mind and heart when you consider that you live through harm to other beings?


  1. T says:
    While I can't comment on this poem at the moment, for some reason, probably unrelated, I am moved to share a poem that has been working in me lately...hope this is OK, if not, just ignore it...
    Here goes:

    Wenn etwas mir vom Fenster fallt

    How surely gravity's law,
    strong as an ocean current,
    takes hold of even the smallest thing
    and pulls it toward the heart of the world.

    Each thing -
    each stone, blossom, child -
    is held in place.
    Only we, in our arrogance,
    push out beyond what we each belong to
    for some empty freedom.

    If we surrendered
    to earth's intelligence
    we could rise up rooted, like trees.

    Instead we entangle ourselves
    in knots of our own making
    and struggle, lonely and confused.

    So, like children, we begin again
    to learn from the things,
    because they are in God's heart;
    they have never left him.

    This is what the things can teach us:
    to fall,
    patiently to trust our heaviness.
    Even a bird has to do that
    before he can fly.

  2. I, too, enjoy snorkling much better than fishing. Thank goodness many of the most beautiful fish on the reef are not considered food for man. It does worry me as to how much waste there is when getting fish and meat to the consumer. I have thought about the fact that my diet involves harm for some living things. This is not counter to the food chains present in all of nature. However, we attempt to take ourselves out of the chain and end it with us avoiding animals that would prey on us. On the other hand, perhaps our 'dust' provides the beginning of a new chain.

    T - I like your poem.