Sunday, January 29, 2012

Guest Post~The Anglerfish

A bit of a departure today, friends. This is a poem by a person close to me who I'm going to leave anonymous, and who is just beginning to write seriously. It impressed me, and I requested permission to pass it on to my readers here, which was granted. I have included some process notes to make the title and subject of the poem clearer. Your thoughts and impressions on it are very welcome. 

For those of my close friends who know or might want to speculate about the identity of the poet, I ask that this not be discussed for various reasons. Thanks.

The Anglerfish

 When scientists first started capturing ceratioid anglerfish, they noticed that all of the specimens were female...and almost all of them had what appeared to be parasites attached to them. It turned out that these "parasites" were highly reduced male[s].."~wikipedia

A floor of no note
seamless, featureless and plain
unimaginable amounts of my lifeblood
weigh it down flat

were it to move, the hungriest
would strive against one another
fighting for one sweet morsel
if only for a year

as flat and crushed as the sand
am I, every moment I live
I struggle, foolishly no doubt
just to breathe

I feel the pressure of a thousand mountains
around me, the darkness of a thousand moons
I am lost in the darkness
Yet I seek a fate beyond it

I am swimming, searching,
useless alone, I must continue.
The vast blackness surrounds
yet lights distantly beckon.

Through water thick as syrup I wander
This blackness treacle and burden
searching ever, for sustenance
a miracle of rage and love

there is only the joining in my eyes
the endless suckling prison
my mouth fused to her side
an endless sustaining of nothing

her maw approaches me slowly and still
in the thick water
teeth so deadly her mouth can never close
and dangling the light of promise in front of her.

So glorious is she that I am overwhelmed
and have to resist the urge
to swim into those lovely jaws
into pure oblivion

dazed, I stand still in the thickness
daring against hope
that I might just survive
and go unnoticed

luckless, she spies me through the veil
and begins to circle
I circle as well
thinking yet to shake the menace upon me

No chance, her gravity
is ten to mine
though she swoops and gulps greatly
still I am free

a blast of pheremones
brings me to a standstill
I am compelled beyond instinct
blindly observing

I am to her an accessory
now she free to ravage and kill
and giving a pittance for me
to remain here alive

the ultimate trap, was it me that grew
into her side, or her sides that hungered
for usefulness and purpose
knowingly growing into the weakest of me

the scales upon me, meant to protect
no gap to be seen
except for the ones ignored
in the words from my lips

those shoals of my soul
like hooks waiting
for another hook of like make
to bring misery and sorrow together

 Further Notes: "...The male ceratioid lives solely to find and mate with a female...When he finds a female, he bites into her skin...fusing the pair down to the blood-vessel level. The male then slowly atrophies, first losing his digestive organs, then his brain, heart, and eyes, and ends as nothing more than a pair of gonads which release sperm in response to hormones in the female's bloodstream indicating egg release. This extreme sexual dimorphism ensures that, when the female is ready to spawn, she has a mate immediately available..."~wikipedia

Note: This poem is copyrighted to Verse Escape, and to the author, and may not be used without written permission. January 29,2012

Image: Humpback anglerfish, via wikimedia commons.
Public Domain, full information given at link.


  1. This is stunning. The choice of the anglerfish as a metaphorical topic is a fine one, and the doomed speaker, drawn almost involuntarily, and yet fascinated and enchanted, is unforgettable.

    The darkness is a them throughout, and the reader feels the thick impenetrable murkiness which holds only seductive bad endings. Still, this is not predator/prey. This is a dance, though what a terrible dance it is.

  2. is a THEME throughout, that should say. Pardon the Typonese.

    1. Typonese is de rigeur around here. Thanks for your impressions, FB.

  3. This is pretty amazing. What I like best is that it is so precise and the metaphor so carefully extended. Sometimes--well, you know--some poems are one long generic moan without specific and compelling details or imagery. The opposite here--verbs are also used very strongly--and, of course, the whole image--the specific fish--is one that is very strong and unique. So kudos. (Not for the situation, obviously, but for a very strong poem.)


    1. Thanks for reading, Karin, and for your analysis and insight.

  4. The gravity of this is oppressive -- a seafloor is appropriate, and the feral environment down there reminds me so much of scraping along the bottom of desperation for a long while.

    ...I am lost in the darkness
    Yet I seek a fate beyond it

    And that fate is a rough, dark neighborhood -- call it the dark night of the soul, where survival means partnering up with Death herself. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do ... But I hope that fate is what it means to make it through to the far side. Fine, raging poem. - Brendan

    1. You describe it well, and I know the territory is all too familiar, B. Thanks much for your thoughts.

    2. first it is really cool that your friend is writing...that should def be commended whoever it is...and very nice writing too...great use of language...i like the question of growing to her side and the hooks as well at the end...very well done hedge...

    3. Thanks brian--I'm sure the author will appreciate it.

  5. I'm with Brian on this, it's a brilliant idea - and a first class contribution. Top write.

  6. There is absolutely no reason this poet should feel the need to write anonymously. I greatly enjoyed this creative expression and newfound knowledge. Thank you both for sharing.

    This is my favorite part:
    "the endless suckling prison
    my mouth fused to her side"

  7. Nice use of de rigeur. :) This week's words are up; I hope you'll be able to join in this time. I was really looking forward to your muse speaking last week. But I understand that it just doesn't always happen.

  8. I really really enjoyed this. The flow was just beautiful. The subject matter, though tragic, captured perfectly the essence of being eaten alive (by love or maybe even just want).

    Thank you, hedgewitch, and your friend for sharing. I hope they continue to write and to share.

    1. Thank you, Talon, for setting down your thoughts. I hope so, too.

  9. "for another hook of like make
    to bring misery and sorrow together"

    That's just freaking brilliant.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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