The Common Good
June 2012

The Sacred Fish

by D.S. Martin | June 2012

You can’t desire to catch the sacred fish / as much as he desires to be caught / & yet / he darts through the dim depths / with tail swerve & swish

You can’t desire to catch the sacred fish
as much as he desires to be caught
& yet
he darts through the dim depths
with tail swerve & swish
laughs with the joy of glistening fins
at huge holes in your net
through which he swims

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To get the shining coin from his mouth
is worth selling all you have
To get him         even better
Everything you know about him
wavers in uneven light

Just below the surface
so it’s barely wet
you let down your net
as he dives to the bottom
You seek the depths
as he leaps through waves
You search the shallows
as he heads for open water
& your tattered nets come up empty

If you let him
he’ll repair them himself
trim knotted clumps     & untie tangles
Selecting the right fibers
he’ll tear & twist
the sinews of your heart into fine mesh
stretch them as thin as a pin
as wide as your whole being
a needle-shimmer piercing your soul

Better is one day in his boats
than thousands elsewhere

D.S. Martin, a Canadian poet living in Ontario, is author of Poiema and So The Moon Would Not Be Swallowed.

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