The Fish

through black jade.
Of the crow-blue mussel-shells, one keeps
adjusting the ash-heaps;
opening and shutting itself like

injured fan.
The barnacles which encrust the side
of the wave, cannot hide
there for the submerged shafts of the

split like spun
glass, move themselves with spotlight swiftness
into the crevices—
in and out, illuminating

turquoise sea
of bodies. The water drives a wedge
of iron through the iron edge
of the cliff; whereupon the stars,

rice-grains, ink-
bespattered jelly fish, crabs like green
lilies, and submarine
toadstools, slide each on the other.

marks of abuse are present on this
defiant edifice—
all the physical features of

of cornice, dynamite grooves, burns, and
hatchet strokes, these things stand
out on it; the chasm-side is

evidence has proved that it can live
on what can not revive
its youth. The sea grows old in it.

Marianne Moore, The Fish

This morning, around 3:45 am, I woke up, my stomach aching.  I tossed and turned, overheated by the furnace situated beside me, also known as R.  Once awake, I was up for good, and unfortunately that left me feeling very drained today.  I think a lot of things lately have had that effect on me and I have been searching for a panacea of sorts- whether that be a shift in outlook, or a tangible shift in the momentum that I have been letting do all the work for me in life.

At any rate, I came home from work and hit up a yoga class at Samadhi with Ian.  When I first started attending his classes I wasn’t sure if I had a crush on him or really disliked him–kind of a funny reaction.  I’m not sure what it is about him that would make me dislike him—except that he reminds me of my high school boyfriend.  Who knows, but I was initially conflicted about whether I liked him or not.  As I have attended more and more of his classes, I think I have decided I’m a fan.  Today was no exception.  The class turned my lethargy around and improved my dour mood.  

I came home and decided the rest of the night was mine to indulge in whatever I felt would further this good mood, so I made myself some quinoa and veggies, poured a glass of red wine, and opened up Modern American Poets.  I decided I would just read a few poems on whatever page I turned to when I opened it– and to my surprise and pleasure I opened to the chapter on Marianne Moore–a favorite of mine in high school.  The poem above was the first I read tonight and the last 4 verses really resonated with me.  They say she’s a modern poet in her style, but classic in her understanding of the value of poetry.  I guess I have a vague idea of what that means, though I definitely don’t claim to know poetry. There’s just something I like about her tendency to depart from the traditional poetic structure but remain steadfast to the classic intent of writing poems.  I can appreciate wanting to break from the mold of “how”, yet not wanting to upend the rationale for of “why” both in poetry and in life, if that makes sense.  I think it’s a reflection of the fact that my predilection for non-conformity doesn’t define me entirely–I have a fairly traditional core.

Anyway, I like her imagery of the signs of abuse being present on the “defiant edifice” and those being a testament that it can go on despite, or possibly because, those things do not restore its youth.   They’re battle wounds, so to speak.  I reminds me of the “old man strength” that you can only get by living and experiencing all that’s thrown at you.  I think it’s good thought for the night, as I mentally prep for my upcoming race and attempt to sort through the various other things rolling around in my head.  It’s comforting knowing that temporary discomfort is a prereq to becoming stronger.


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