Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Goldfish Nation

It has been years since I read this following poem. It's written by Wendy Cope, who used to be my favourite poet when I still read poems and loved them. It's quite sad but I don't even like poems so much in these days. When I was much younger I used to write them weekly and read them as often too. I even got something published. Anyway. I still like this one, it's good in Finnish too.


In the pond
There are no bombs, no guns, no bullets.
There is no property and no television.
The pond is the territory not of humans
But of the goldfish.
He is better than you.

Goldfish play.
They do not work.
They do not set the alarm clock
And get up at half past seven
And get on a crowded commuter train
And go to the office.
They are playful creatures.
Goldfish play.
Their games are non-competitive -
Swimming into a space and twisting,
Looking for another space.
All day long it's like PE
In a progressive infant school.

Goldfish are intelligent.
They anser to their names.
Go out and sprinkle
Just a pinch of fish food
As you call to them

And see them rising from the muddy depths
To greet you. Sunshine. Goldy.
Flipper. Bertrand Russell.
Maharishi. Name your goldfish
After holy men and sages.
It is appropriate.

'Look on the goldfish,' say the Inkuwala,
'And be at peace.'

The Watatooki of Wideawake Bay
Have a different saying:
'He who contemplates the goldfish
Will grow wiser than a frog.'

Albert Eames of Norwood Fish Society
Believes that his goldfish, Lucky,
Is a bringer of good fortune.
'It's a well-known fact,' he says
'That many goldfish owners in Sout London
'Have won prizes with their Premium Bonds.'

The sex life of the goldfish, it has to be admitted,
Is somewhat less exciting
Than the mating of whales.

The fact is goldfish do not have a sex life.
They breed without physical contact,
Shedding enormous quantities of sperms and eggs
Into the water.

Hundreds and hundres of sperms are attracted
To each egg
And each one tries to bore its way through the shell
But only one succeeds in doing so.

After fertilization, the egg faces tremendous hazards,
Including the danger of being eaten
By the very fish who gave it life.

But some survive. The fry swim. They eat.
They grow. Their scales ripen to gold.
And they play.

Like Buddhists,
Goldfish are disinclined
To get into an argument.
They do not discuss interest rates
Or debate the ordination of women.
On these matters they seem to have no opinion.
They prefer to play.

Ludic, aureate creatures,
Silently chanting, Om,
Gazing at reality with round, unblinking eyes.
Water-angels, glinting in the sunlight.

It's obvious that goldfish are better than people.
Goldfish are better than you.

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