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The Fish Analysis

Author: poem of Marianne Moore Type: poem Views: 14

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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 throught 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 ahs proved that it can live

       on what can not revive

              its youth. The sea grows old in it.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: :.

This is my opinion of the poem which I read so many times to find some sense in it. Now, it stands out clear to me as such:
The fish wade through black jade: at first I guessed it meant a fish moving through a dark green water but no: I can mean "shellfish" eating through a rock..which is what the whole poem seems to be about. Then she describes the shell fish on the rock and how they behave, then the barnacles encrust the side of the wave - the side of the wave means a wave clashing with the rock. Then the sun beams in the crevices of the rock and in the water, illuminating. That's clear. "The water drives a wedge of iron through the iron edge of the cliff"- the water is eating the hard rock away. "whereupon the stars" - the starfish, + other little sea critters "slide on each other" - because of she sways of the sea. And then she describes the rock, how damaged it looks. " Repeated evidence has proved that it can live on what cannot revive its youth" - "it" meaning the shellfish living on the rock, seem to be living off the rock, (every creature is living off food which subsides it but keeps it alive only to let it grow old, not make it young, so this is a metaphor for one of life's ultimate truths). "The sea grows old in it" - The shellfish lives off the sea and is a proof of life happening, right there, on the rock in the sea.

| Posted on 2010-04-04 | by a guest

.: :.

The first few lines are talking about people in general, how we live life unknowing of what is to come next and catch mere glimpses of what is to come.

| Posted on 2009-12-08 | by a guest

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