Friday, February 07, 2014

Poetry Friday -- Ode to a Classroom Goldfish

Flickr Creative Commons photo by James Demetrie

Ode to a Classroom Goldfish

The smaller of the two
in the bowl by the sink,
white and thin, you
made the marbles clink

when you nosed for food.
It's not likely,
but I wonder if it was music
for you and your lively,

larger, solid orange friend.
I think he misses you.
What would it be like to spend
your life swimming to

and fro, alone, in a small
glass prison? Perhaps it's
a home, not a prison at all.
Whatever the case, you'll be missed.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014

Renee has the Poetry Friday roundup this week at No Water River.


  1. Aw, sweet! I really like your use of enjambment to "swim" us from line to line. I've often wondered what kind of life fishbowl fish have. I hope you'll be getting the big guy a new friend.

  2. I love this little fish ode. Kinda goes with the theme of the day considering Greg's elegy to a cookie. I love how you inserted the rhyme that did not interrupt the flow of the ideas. I'm sure there is some literary term for how you did this.

  3. Aw, sweet ode, poor little white fish! I agree that the orange one needs a new friend.

  4. Goldfish are cute, and they make surprisingly good scene partners...

  5. Super sweet poem, Mary Lee! My favorite lines: I wonder if it was music for you and your lively, larger, solid orange friend. Nicely done!

  6. Poor lonely guy!Sounds like you need to go fish shopping this weekend!

  7. If you really lost a fish friend, I'm sorry. Each small life has its place... I love reading this poem - the honoring of the smaller fish and the words, you are such a spinner of great lines. I love the last one.

  8. So cute! I love the swimmy feel to the lines. I wonder if fish do miss their bowlmates.

  9. I often think about fishbowls, actually, so thank you for this lovely piece.

  10. Sorry about your goldfish. I love the idea of them hearing the clinking marbles in the bowl as music. Thanks for sharing!

  11. I'm sorry about your fish, Mary Lee. Your poem made me wonder whether anyone has done a study to find out how fish feel about fishbowls, and apparently someone has:

    1. Oh, dear. I guess I need to make Ollie's bowl a little more interesting. It probably wouldn't do any good to get him/her a companion for that cramped space, however.

      I just have to say, to give the other side of the argument, when I first moved to Ohio, I brought two pet goldfish in the car, all the way from Texas, in an aluminum bowl with a plastic lid. Not only did they survive that trip, but they survived a year in the graduate dorm at OSU, and an Ohio earthquake. They both lived to be 12 years old, and they spent their entire lives in the same bowl in which Ollie now lives, with the very same marbles and no other stimulation. So I'm taking the study with a bit of a grain of salt!

  12. Mary Lee -- I just heard that scientists discovered cod using the ID tags researchers put on them as a tool. They use the tags press (or pull?) on something that releases food. Maybe Ollie *was* using the marbles as a tool to make music, after all.

  13. What a fabulous Ode for your silent splishy fishy. We love goldfish in our house, but unfortunately they've been short lived friends. Great poem, Mary Lee. = )

  14. Reminds me of the days we had a little bowl with goldfish for our kids, along with the sad ending.

    Poem-wise, I liked your line endings combining enjambment and rhyme. Clever!

    Violet N.

  15. Your poem reminds me of the many goldfish we won at our PTO carnival each year, only to have them die in what seemed a very short time. I'm sorry to hear about your fist, but did enjoy the view from two lenses of the possibility of his life. I'm thinking he found the home to be perfect.


  16. I love the flow of your ode, though I'm rather sad about the fish. Your poetry always makes me smile, even if it's wistfully.


We welcome your contribution to the conversation!