Scene with Fish

Scene with Fish
By Gavin Lambert
They came over the water
In their little boat, like pathetic
pilgrims, to the lake shore and got out
And the little one held up their full
Stringer of fish. The big one, dad,
Did not smile. He didn’t have to.
The little one smiled for both of
Them. Mom took a picture.
This never happened to me, not exactly,
But it might have, just as easily.
Anyway, it doesn’t matter, really,
Because it’s happening now, some-
Where, except without stringered
Fish. (It’s no longer acceptable
To stringer fish.)
Instead, they’re in a bucket or
Cooler, or maybe the bucket or
Cooler is empty; maybe they didn’t
Catch anything.
Maybe there are no fish at all.

0 thoughts on “Scene with Fish

  1. Glowing Pic! …like a hybrid between Dali and Disney’s ‘Robots’.
    Poem was deep [sea]! One of those head-scratchers…’hmmm.’ …a harkening to nostalgia…the good ol’ days…when tests of manhood exposed the pure nakedness of one’s mettle and ability to survive…perhaps just a convenience store novelty nowadays, eh?
    Simile in 2nd-3rd line, ‘like pathetic pilgrims’ seems to set tone for rest of poem. At first, I thought the author looked down upon the characters in using this analogy, but realized in the end that ‘pathetic pilgrims’ comes to stand for hard rugged individualism frontiersmanship (perhaps)…people who may have nothing (pathetic?) but resolve to go out, kick ass, and take names…’Yi-haaaa! A country boy can survive!’ {and let’s take a polaroid of the moment and scrapbook it!}. Has our society lost some vital requisite of appreciation for nature due to all our ‘concrete jungles’ and lay-away plans and division of labor cosmopolitan lifestyles?
    Or maybe this is just a poem about a singular observation one day fishing at the lake…I still feel the theme is loss.
    One thing I noticed in the area of ‘Angling’ is the growing popularity of ‘Erotic Fishing’. People go out in their sporty fishing boats and cast lures ‘al-natural’. Someone sent me a pic of a smiling busty blonde in sunglasses (only) holding up a 2 foot bass (one in each hand)…I’d like to think she was using a stringer but think I glimpsed a cooler in the background, oh well, it’s hard to be tough and sexy at the same time… Great poem!

  2. I always put my fish on a stringer. Shit, I’m gonna gut ’em anyway. Nice poem though – yellowed photo meets mercury fish of the future. Probably heathier if the cooler’s empty most of the time.

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