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Short poem

Rupert Brooke (1887-1915)


              1Fish (fly-replete, in depth of June,
              2Dawdling away their wat'ry noon)
              3Ponder deep wisdom, dark or clear,
              4Each secret fishy hope or fear.
              5Fish say, they have their Stream and Pond;
              6But is there anything Beyond?
              7This life cannot be All, they swear,
              8For how unpleasant, if it were!
              9One may not doubt that, somehow, Good
            10Shall come of Water and of Mud;
            11And, sure, the reverent eye must see
            12A Purpose in Liquidity.
            13We darkly know, by Faith we cry,
            14The future is not Wholly Dry.
            15Mud unto mud! -- Death eddies near --
            16Not here the appointed End, not here!
            17But somewhere, beyond Space and Time.
            18Is wetter water, slimier slime!
            19And there (they trust) there swimmeth One
            20Who swam ere rivers were begun,
            21Immense, of fishy form and mind,
            22Squamous, omnipotent, and kind;
            23And under that Almighty Fin,
            24The littlest fish may enter in.
            25Oh! never fly conceals a hook,
            26Fish say, in the Eternal Brook,
            27But more than mundane weeds are there,
            28And mud, celestially fair;
            29Fat caterpillars drift around,
            30And Paradisal grubs are found;
            31Unfading moths, immortal flies,
            32And the worm that never dies.
            33And in that Heaven of all their wish,
            34There shall be no more land, say fish.


22] Squamous: scaly.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Rupert Brooke, 1914 & other Poems (London: Sidgwick & Jackson, June 6, 1915): 27-28. PR 6003 R4N5 Robarts Library
First publication date: 1915
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1999.
Recent editing: 2:2001/11/15

Composition date: 1913
Composition date note: (Lehmann, p. 60)
Form: couplets

Other poems by Rupert Brooke