Marianne Moore





The Fish

wade
through black jade.
	Of the crow-blue mussel-shells, one keeps
	adjusting the ash heaps;
		opening and shutting itself like

an
injured fan.
	The barnacles, which encrust the side
	of the wave cannot hide
		there, for the submerged shafts of the

sun,
split like spun
	glass, move themselves with spotlight swiftness
	into the crevices—
		in and out, illuminating

the 
turquoise sea
	of bodies. The water drives a wedge
	of iron through the iron edge
		of the cliff; whereupon the stars,

pink 
rice-grains, ink-
	bespattered jelly fish, crabs like green
	lilies, and submarine
		toadstools slide each on the other.

All
external
	marks of abuse are present on this
	defiant edifice—
		all the physical features of
ac- 
cident—lack
	of cornice, dynamite grooves, burns, and 
	hatchet strokes, these things stand
		out on it; the chasm side is

dead.
Repeated
	evidence has proved that it can  live
	on what can not revive
		its youth. The sea grows old in it.