Guest poem sent in by William Grey
(Poem #1579) Heaven
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.
This poem by Rupert Brooke (1887-1915) is based on a simple idea, and not an original one at that -- it is an idea that goes back at least to the ancient Greek philosopher Xenophanes (c.570 - c.475 BC), who suggested that horses (if they could draw) would draw the gods like horses, and cattle like cattle... It is however a wonderful articulation of the idea -- perhaps germinated in idle summer reverie on a punt at Grantchester. William Grey [Martin adds] Brooke is one of my favourite 'comfort poets' (by analogy with comfort food) - I know that I can always pick up one of his poems and be guaranteed a pleasurable experience. Today's poem is a great example.