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Friday Poetry: Two New Fish, by Joshua Mehigan

Inside the knotted plastic bag he tossed
and caught in front of him the whole way home
were two new fish. They seemed to him to bear
a trademark not quite rare, as though the two
were penknife souvenirs from the next county.
The fish were alien and mediocre.

He felt his strength as if it were a bomb
that detonates with no complexity
of wires or clocks, fuse or even impact.
His tosses changed without much thought to heaves.
They arced, slowed, hung like miniature flames
trapped in a bubble, glanced the power lines . . .

The fish sped back an inch and forth an inch
in the bag cupped in the boy’s hands, and then
not in his hands at all, then on the grass.
He rolled the bag experimentally
over the gravel drive to demonstrate
again how well he kept from breaking it.

He hung it on a stick and jabbed the air
fitfully, like a hobo shooing bees.
He did his undecided best to burst
and also not to burst the bag. And when
within these limits neither fish had died,
the boy put down the bag and went inside.


See page 206. From "The Swallow Anthology of New American Poets." Edited by David Yezzi. Gotta love your local public library.

Friday Poetry: The Hollow Men, by T S Eliot

Mistah Kurtz—he dead.

A penny for the Old Guy


We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us—if at all—not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.


Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death’s dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind’s singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer
In death’s dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer—

Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom


This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man’s hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Is it like this
In death’s other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.


The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death’s twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.


Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

Friday Poetry: Walking Away by C Day Lewis

For Sean

It is eighteen years ago, almost to the day –
A sunny day with leaves just turning,
The touch-lines new-ruled – since I watched you play
Your first game of football, then, like a satellite
Wrenched from its orbit, go drifting away

Behind a scatter of boys. I can see
You walking away from me towards the school
With the pathos of a half-fledged thing set free
Into a wilderness, the gait of one
Who finds no path where the path should be.

That hesitant figure, eddying away
Like a winged seed loosened from its parent stem,
Has something I never quite grasp to convey
About nature’s give-and-take – the small, the scorching
Ordeals which fire one’s irresolute clay.

I have had worse partings, but none that so
Gnaws at my mind still. Perhaps it is roughly
Saying what God alone could perfectly show –
How selfhood begins with a walking away,
And love is proved in the letting go.


I found my old poetry book from high school. This poem I remember well. I still have my pencil notes scribbled all over the book. The book is "For All Seasons." Edited by Rumboll and Gardener.

Friday Poetry: Fire by Greg Williamson


Imagine the first fire, the doubletakes

Among the vegans, cold, dark, wet: Cave guy

Strikes flint and, boom, you're grilling mammoth steaks,

You're holding hands, you're hooking up, you're dry.


And (years of R&D) it catches on,

Brick ovens, candlelight, of course appalling

Losses, but still, fondue, filet mignon,

And the three-alarm, fanned fire of your first calling


Until there's no more call for you, you box

Up your life's work, archive the ardencies,

The once hot, test -tube topics, and retire

To country climes, keeping an eye on the phlox

In your old field, avuncular now, at peace

With not quite having set the world

                                                                on fire.



See p 301, The Swallow Anthology of New American Poets. Edited by David Yezzi

Friday Poetry: A Simple Thing by Deborah Warren


A branch that broke with the weight of the winter snow

went on with April, blooming anyway,

its death not having reached its hasty bud.

How simple- not to stop or think or know;

to answer a single impluse with a drive

that assumes the sap as a habit in the blood;

to carry on with business of the day

and eat the light and call itself alive.



I found this poet and this poem in a book I got out from our local library. "The Swallow Anthology of New American Poets." Edited by  David Yezzi.