by: Rupert Brooke (1887-1915)
FISH (fly-replete, in depth of June,
Dawdling away their wat’ry noon)
Ponder deep wisdom, dark or clear,
Each secret fishy hope or fear.
Fish say, they have their Stream and Pond;
But is there anything Beyond?
This life cannot be All, they swear,
For how unpleasant, if it were!
One may not doubt that, somehow, Good
Shall come of Water and of Mud;
And, sure, the reverent eye must see
A Purpose in Liquidity.
We darkly know, by Faith we cry,
The future is not Wholly Dry.
Mud unto mud! — Death eddies near —
Not here the appointed End, not here!
But somewhere, beyond Space and Time.
Is wetter water, slimier slime!
And there (they trust) there swimmeth One
Who swam ere rivers were begun,
Immense, of fishy form and mind,
Squamous, omnipotent, and kind;
And under that Almighty Fin,
The littlest fish may enter in.
Oh! never fly conceals a hook,
Fish say, in the Eternal Brook,
But more than mundane weeds are there,
And mud, celestially fair;
Fat caterpillars drift around,
And Paradisal grubs are found;
Unfading moths, immortal flies,
And the worm that never dies.
And in that Heaven of all their wish,
There shall be no more land, say fish
There will be no church bells for us, no hymns, no doting vicar to join us together, and tell us when we are allowed to kiss. Because no church would have us. Too many miles on the clock, you see. Too much life lived.
I thought that I would regret that too. The lack of the sanctified. I thought that would be a definite damper on the proceedings.
But when she takes my hand, somehow it doesn’t matter anymore, because I can sense something sacred in the small secular room with the women in their hats, the men in their suits, the children in what my mum would call their Sunday best.
Everybody smiling, happy for us, white lilies everywhere, their scent filling the air.
There’s no place more sacred than this place.
And if anyone is blessed, then we are blessed …
And to tell the world – the best is yet to come. What could be more hopeful than that? What could be more right? More sacred? …
Just a simple ceremony joining together two complicated lives.
(Tony Parsons, Man and Wife, 2003, p. 5)
From time to time I will point readers to websites that I think might interest them. It just so happens that this one was set up by my good friend Liam.
Do you like reading? Are you a budding writer? Liam has been working on this project for a while now and it has just officially launched. Check out the website, where authors and readers can share high-quality fiction, poetry and more in all manner of on-screen and printable formats. And if you fancy sharing the link with others, we’d both be eternally grateful.
We are The Fiction Shelf – an entertainment site for readers and writers, and a free one at that. All of the stories and poems here are of excellent quality and are available to you however you want them.
If you would like to read some of our fiction use the buttons at the top of page. If you’re a writer and want to have your work featured click here to learn how. If you have any ideas on how the site could be improved then please drop us an e‐mail.
Yesterday was not a good day for me. My research has not been going very well… mostly because I have a vast amount of material and don’t quite know how to deal with it (I think I am getting somewhere now though). I had a long meeting with my supervisor who advised me to take some time off, get some perspective and come back to it. Thus, spending a night in the flat with nothing do… I cracked open a bottle of beer and picked up my William Wordsworth – Selected Poems which I very occasionally dip into.
If I believed in fate, I would say that it was fate that had me turn quickly to this one. It most surely spoke to my current situation… one of the few times that this has happened. Sometimes it is too easy to get bogged down in books (and rightly so, sometimes) and not appreciate the world around us. I give you… The Tables Turned:
Up! up! my Friend, and quit your books;
Or surely you’ll grow double:
Up! up! my friend, and clear your looks,
Why all this toil and trouble?
The sun above the mountain’s head,
A freshening lustre mellow
Through all the long green fields has spread,
His first sweet evening yellow.
Books! ’tis a dull and endless strife:
Come, hear the woodland linnet,
How sweet his music! on my life,
There’s more of wisdom in it.
And hark! how blithe the throstle sings!
He, too, is no mean preacher:
Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your teacher.
She has a world of ready wealth,
Our minds and hearts to bless–
Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health,
Truth breathed by cheerfulness.
One impulse from a vernal wood
May teach you more of man,
Of moral evil and of good,
Than all the sages can.
Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;
Our meddling intellect
Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:–
We murder to dissect.
Enough of Science and of Art;
Close up those barren leaves;
Come forth, and bring with you a heart
That watches and receives.
“I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and
I stand and look at them long and long.
They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of
Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.”
From Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself, available in full here.
I died from minerality and became vegetable;
And From vegetativeness I died and became animal.
I died from animality and became man.
Then why fear disappearance through death?
Next time I shall die
Bringing forth wings and feathers like angels;
After that, soaring higher than angels –
What you cannot imagine,
I shall be that.
The translation on wikipedia is quite different, but equally evocative:
I died as a mineral and became a plant,
I died as plant and rose to animal,
I died as animal and I was Man.
Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?
Yet once more I shall die as Man, to soar
With angels bless’d; but even from angelhood
I must pass on: all except God doth perish.
When I have sacrificed my angel-soul,
I shall become what no mind e’er conceived.
Oh, let me not exist! for Non-existence
Proclaims in organ tones,
To Him we shall return.
Make of this what you will. Every now and again, something just comes into my path that is worth sharing.
I hope you appreciated it.