Marianne Moore



                        The Fish


wade
through black jade.
      Of the crow-blue mussel-shells, one keeps
      adjusting the ash heaps;
            opening and shutting itself like

an
injured fan.
      The barnacles which encrust the side
      of the wave, cannot hide
            there for the submerged shafts of the

sun,
split like spun
      glass, move themselves with spotlight swiftness
      into the crevices–
            in and out, illuminating

the
turquoise sea
      of bodies. The water drives a wedge
      of iron through the iron edge
            of the cliff; whereupon the stars,

pink
rice-grains, ink-
      bespattered jelly-fish, crabs like green
      lilies, and submarine
            toadstools, slide each on the other.

All
external
      marks of abuse are present on this
      defiant edifice–
            all the physical features of

ac-
cident–lack
      of cornice, dynamite grooves, burns, and
      hatchet strokes, these things stand
            out on it; the chasm-side is

dead.
Repeated
      evidence has proved that it can live
      on what can not revive
            its youth. The sea grows old in it.


Marianne Moore, The Collected Poems of Marianne
Moore, Viking Penguin, 1941.