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A Publication of
Catholic Concern for Animals

Selections From The Ark Number 198 - Winter 2004


To a Fish

                YOU strange, astonished-looking, angle-faced,

                Dreary-mouthed, gaping wretches of the sea,

                Gulping salt water everlastingly,

                Cold-blooded, though with red your blood be graced,

                And mute, though dwellers in the roaring waste;

                And you, all shapes beside, that fishy be

                Some round, some flat, some long, all devilry,

                Legless, unmoving, infamously chaste:

                O scaly, slippery, wet, swift, staring wights,

                What ist ye do? What life lead? eh, dull goggles?

                How do ye vary your vile days and nights?

                How pass your Sundays? Are ye still but joggles

                In ceaseless wash? Still naught but gapes and bites,

                And drinks and stares, diversified with boggles?

A Fish Answers

                AMAZING monster! that for aught I know,

                With the first sight of thee didst make our race

                For ever stare! O flat and shocking face,

                Grimly divided from the breast below!

                Thou that on dry land horribly dost go

                With a split body and most ridiculous pace,

                Prong after prong, disgracer of all grace,

                Long-useless-finned, haired, upright, unwet, slow!

                O breather of unbreathable, sword-sharp air,

                How canst exist? How bear thyself, thou dry

                And dreary sloth? What particle canst share

                Of the only blessed life, the watery?

                I sometimes see of ye an actual pair

                Go by! linked fin by fin! most odiously.

James Leigh Hunt (1784 1859) 

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