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Ghoti Analysis

Author: poem of Heather McHugh Type: poem Views: 12

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The gh comes from rough, the o from women's,

and the ti from unmentionables--presto:

there's the perfect English instance of


with fish. Our wish was for a better

revelation: for a correspondence--

if not lexical, at least

phonetic; if not with Madonna

then at least with Mary Magdalene.

Instead we get the sheer

opacity of things: an accident

of incident, a tracery of history: the dung

inside the dungarees, the jock strap for a codpiece, and

the ruined patches bordering the lip. One boot (high-heeled) could make

Sorrento sorry, Capri corny, even little Italy

a little ill. Low-cased, a lover looks

one over--eggs without ease, semen without oars--

and there, on board, tricked out in fur and fin,

the landlubber who wound up captain. Where's it going,

this our (H)MS? More west? More forth? The quest

itself is at a long and short behest: it's wound

in winds. (Take rough from seas, and women from the shore,

unmentionables out of mind). We're here

for something rich, beyond

appearances. What do I mean? (What can one say?)

A minute of millenium, unculminating

stint, a stonishment: my god, what's

utterable? Gargah, gatto, goat. Us animals is made

to seine and trawl and drag and gaff

our way across the earth. The earth, it rolls.

We dig, lay lines, book arguably

perfect passages. But earth remains untranslated,

unplumbed. A million herring run where we

catch here a freckle, there a pock; the depths to which things live

words only glint at. Terns in flight work up

what fond minds might

call syntax. As for that

semantic antic in the distance, is it

whiskered fish, finned cat? Don't settle

just for two. Some bottomographies are

brooded over, and some skies swum through. . .


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