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Famous Fish Poems by Famous Poets

These are examples of famous Fish poems written by some of the greatest and most-well-known modern and classical poets. PoetrySoup is a great educational poetry resource of famous fish poems. These examples illustrate what a famous fish poem looks like and its form, scheme, or style (where appropriate).

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by Thomas, Dylan
...sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky
that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in
the snow and bring out whatever I can find. In goes my hand into that wool-white bell-tongued ball of holidays
resting at the rim of the carol-singing sea, and out come Mrs. Prothero and the firemen.

It was on the afternoon of the Christmas Eve, and I was in Mrs. Prothero's garden, waiting for ca...Read more of this...

by Yeats, William Butler
...ble ghost,
Wild with divinity,
Had so lit up the whole
Immense miraculous house
The Bible promised us,
It seemed a gold-fish swimming in a bowl.

On Florence Emery I call the next,
Who finding the first wrinkles on a face
Admired and beautiful,
And knowing that the future would be vexed
With 'minished beauty, multiplied commonplace,
preferred to teach a school
Away from neighbour or friend,
Among dark skins, and there
permit foul years to wear
Hidden from eyesight to the ...Read more of this...

by Whitman, Walt
...pasturage, sweet and natural as savanna, upland, prairie, 
Through him flights, whirls, screams, answering those of the fish-hawk, mocking-bird,
 night-heron, and eagle; 
His spirit surrounding his country’s spirit, unclosed to good and evil, 
Surrounding the essences of real things, old times and present times, 
Surrounding just found shores, islands, tribes of red aborigines,
Weather-beaten vessels, landings, settlements, embryo stature and muscle, 
The haughty defiance of ...Read more of this...

by Robinson, Edwin Arlington
...have known that you have known 
There was a reason waited on your coming, 
And, if it’s in me to see clear enough, 
To fish the reason out of a black well 
Where you see only a dim sort of glimmer
That has for you no light.” 

“I see the well,” 
I said, “but there’s a doubt about the glimmer— 
Say nothing of the light. I’m at your service; 
And though you say that I shall not be happy,
I shall be if in some way I may serve. 
To tell you fairly now that I know not...Read more of this...

by Aldington, Richard
...its beds of geraniums no one was allowed to pick, 
And its clipped lawns you weren't allowed to walk on, 
And the gold-fish pond you mustn't paddle in, 
And the gate made out of a whale's jaw-bones, 
And the swings, which were for "Board-School children," 
And its gravel paths. 

And on Sundays they rang the bells, 
From Baptist and Evangelical and Catholic churches. 
They had a Salvation Army. 
I was taken to a High Church; 
The parson's name was Mowbray, 
"Whic...Read more of this...

by Pope, Alexander
...w deep extend below! 
Vast chain of being, which from God began, 
Natures ethereal,(26) human, angel, man 
Beast, bird, fish, insect! what no eye can see, 
No glass can reach! from Infinite to thee, 
From thee to Nothing! -- On superior pow'rs 
Were we to press, inferior might on ours: 
Or in the full creation leave a void, 
Where, one step broken, the great scale's destoy'd: 
From Nature's chain whatever link you strike, 
Tenth or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike. ...Read more of this...

by Sexton, Anne
...I'm blind. 
The sea collapses. 
The sun is a bone. 
Hi-ho the derry-o, 
we all fall down. 
If I were a fisherman I could comprehend. 
They fish right through the door 
and pull eyes from the fire. 
They rock upon the daybreak 
and amputate the waters. 
They are beating the sea, 
they are hurting it, 
delving down into the inscrutable salt. 


When mother left the room 
and left me in the big black 
and sent away my kitty 
to be fried in the...Read more of this...

by Marvell, Andrew
...ness unloads its stormy sides. 

Spragge there, though practised in the sea command, 
With panting heart lay like a fish on land 
And quickly judged the fort was not ten?ble-- 
Which, if a house, yet were not tenant?ble-- 
No man can sit there safe: the cannon pours 
Thorough the walls untight and bullet showers, 
The neighbourhood ill, and an unwholesome seat, 
So at the first salute resolves retreat, 
And swore that he would never more dwell there 
Until the city put it...Read more of this...

by Plath, Sylvia
...ies in
scattering candy from a zeppelin,
 playing his prodigal charades. 

The moon leans down to took; the tilting fish
in the rare river wink and laugh; we lavish
 blessings right and left and cry
hello, and then hello again in deaf
churchyard ears until the starlit stiff
 graves all carol in reply. 

Now kiss again: till our strict father leans
to call for curtain on our thousand scenes;
 brazen actors mock at him,
multiply pink harlequins and sing
in gay ventriloq...Read more of this...

by Robinson, Edwin Arlington cling alone 
With Washington. Ask Adams about that. 


We’ll not ask Adams about anything. 
We fish for lizards when we choose to ask
For what we know already is not coming, 
And we must eat the answer. Where’s the use 
Of asking when this man says everything, 
With all his tongues of silence? 


I dare say.
I dare say, but I won’t. One of those tongues 
I’ll borrow for the nonce. He’ll never miss it. 
We mean his Western Maje...Read more of this...

by Milton, John
...mother thus replied. 
Thou therefore on these herbs, and fruits, and flowers, 
Feed first; on each beast next, and fish, and fowl; 
No homely morsels! and, whatever thing 
The sithe of Time mows down, devour unspared; 
Till I, in Man residing, through the race, 
His thoughts, his looks, words, actions, all infect; 
And season him thy last and sweetest prey. 
This said, they both betook them several ways, 
Both to destroy, or unimmortal make 
All kinds, and for destru...Read more of this...

by Ginsberg, Allen stored in salty caverns under white snow, 
 black hail, grey winter rain or Polar ice, immemor-
 able seasons before
Fish flew in Heaven, before a Ram died by the starry
 bush, before the Bull stamped sky and earth
or Twins inscribed their memories in clay or Crab'd
washed memory from the skull, or Lion sniffed the
 lilac breeze in Eden--
Before the Great Year began turning its twelve signs,
 ere constellations wheeled for twenty-four thousand
 sunny years
slowly ro...Read more of this...

by Thomas, Dylan
...Where a boy
 In the listening
Summertime of the dead whispered the truth of his joy
To the trees and the stones and the fish in the tide.
 And the mystery
 Sang alive
 Still in the water and singingbirds.

 And there could I marvel my birthday
Away but the weather turned around. And the true
 Joy of the long dead child sang burning
 In the sun.
 It was my thirtieth
Year to heaven stood there then in the summer noon
Though the town below lay leaved with October...Read more of this...

by Whitman, Walt
...l of common employments! full of grain and trees. 

O for the voices of animals! O for the swiftness and balance of fishes!
O for the dropping of rain-drops in a poem! 
O for the sunshine, and motion of waves in a poem. 

O the joy of my spirit! it is uncaged! it darts like lightning! 
It is not enough to have this globe, or a certain time—I will have thousands of
 and all time. 

O the engineer’s joys!
To go with a locomotive! 
To hear the hiss of stea...Read more of this...

by Whitman, Walt the Great
On the piazza walk three matrons stately and friendly with twined arms; 
The crew of the fish-smack pack repeated layers of halibut in the hold; 
The Missourian crosses the plains, toting his wares and his cattle; 
As the fare-collector goes through the train, he gives notice by the jingling of
 loose change;
The floor-men are laying the floor—the tinners are tinning the
 roof—the masons are calling for mortar; 
In single file, each should...Read more of this...

by Sexton, Anne
of their division.

Your daisies have come
on the day of my divorce.
They arrive like round yellow fish,
sucking with love at the coral of our love.
Yet they wait,
in their short time,
like little utero half-borns,
half killed, thin and bone soft.
They breathe the air that stands
for twenty-five illicit days,
the sun crawling inside the sheets,
the moon spinning like a tornado
in the washbowl,
and we orchestrated them both,
calling ourselves TWO C...Read more of this...

by Jeffers, Robinson
...rain nor wave washes the cormorants'
Perch, and their droppings have painted it shining white.
If the excrement of fish-eaters makes the brown rock a snow-mountain
At noon, a rose in the morning, a beacon at moonrise
On the black water: it is barely possible that even men's present
Lives are something; their arts and sciences (by moonlight)
Not wholly ridiculous, nor their cities merely an offense.


Under my windows, between the road and the sea-cliff, bitter wi...Read more of this...

by Blake, William
...ell of the lion. woman the fleece of the sheep.

The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship.

The selfish smiling fool. & the sullen frowning fool. shall be
both thought wise. that they may be a rod.

What is now proved was once, only imagin'd.
The rat, the mouse, the fox, the rabbet; watch the roots, the
lion, the tyger, the horse, the elephant, watch the fruits.

The cistern contains: the fountain overflows 
One thought. fills ...Read more of this...

by Pope, Alexander
...nted Fragments lie! 

Let Wreaths of Triumph now my Temples twine,
(The Victor cry'd) the glorious Prize is mine!
While Fish in Streams, or Birds delight in Air,
Or in a Coach and Six the British Fair,
As long as Atalantis shall be read,
Or the small Pillow grace a Lady's Bed,
While Visits shall be paid on solemn Days,
When numerous Wax-lights in bright Order blaze,
While Nymphs take Treats, or Assignations give,
So long my Honour, Name, and Praise shall live!

What Time wou'...Read more of this...

by Byron, George (Lord)
...ows, as helpless as the devil can wish, 
And not a whit more difficult to damn, 
Than is to bring to land a late-hook'd fish, 
Or to the butcher to purvey the lamb; 
Not that I'm fit for such a noble dish, 
As one day will be that immortal fry 
Of almost everybody born to die. 


Saint Peter sat by the celestial gate, 
And nodded o'er his keys; when, lo! there came 
A wondrous noise he had not heard of late — 
A rushing sound of wind, and stream, and flame; 
In short,...Read more of this...

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Book: Reflection on the Important Things