Siluroid

by T. Wignesan

I am the prize catch
I live in an artificial lake
fed by a nappe phréatique
I was put there to keep
lesser fish: carp
from taking up too much space
I live to be caught
and caught again
and be let loose as rain
I protest only to attract attention
Twenty minutes to make things look good
for the fresh-water sportsman

I know now well how to play the game

My almost fanless tail
A slithering mermaid mass from my puffed-up head
where overcoat-button eyes
sunk on either side
of my gaping gasping mouth
shell-fish fins for hands
Seven beige whiskers under my gawking chin
make me the butt
of dare-devil diving click-clucking coots
Even the slender-necked darting grebe ignores me
I stay low when the wild geese gather
with their young :
duckling swan barnacle
I make no sound to call my own
Only the crunch of carp
between two rows of filed-down molars

It is not my duty to swagger around
even under my metallic raincoat camouflaged
I hide where the yarrow stalks grow thick and deep
Or where the weeping willows dip their loaded plaits

Every Sunday I await the sporting hameçon
The tear makes the wear more ludique
Only the side of my underlip looks like a harelip

It doesn’t much matter
for the fun-loving trotters and rovers
like to marvel with pride at my side
in the fishing-club picture of the week

Meantime I gorge myself with carp
That’s why I hardly ever wish to carp

© T. Wignesan – Paris - 2012

Note : The Siluroid , one of the largest fresh-water fishes, sometimes a metre and a half in length.

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About T. Wignesan

Biography
If I might be allowed to say so, I think my "first" love was poetry. Unfortunately for me, the British curricula at school did not put me in touch with the Metaphysical Poets, nor with the post-Georgian school. Almost all the school texts after World War II contained invariably Victorian narrative poems and some popular examples of Romantic poetry. I chanced upon a selection of T. S. Eliot's and Fitzgerald's Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, and a little later on Pope's An Essay on Man and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. That did the trick. Yet, I regret not having taken to prose in earnest earlier than the publication of my first collection: Tracks of a Tramp (1961). There's nothing like trying your hand at all kinds of prose exercises to come to grips with poetry. Or rather to see how poetry makes for the essence of speech/Speech and makes you realise how it can communicate what prose cannot easily convey. I have managed to put together several collections of poems, but never actually sought to find homes for them in magazines, periodicals or anthologies. Apart from the one published book, some of my sporadic efforts may be sampled at http://www.stateless.freehosting.net/menupage.htm