Nemerov, Howard. "The Goose Fish." The Norton Introduction to Poetry. J. Paul Hunter, Alison Booth, and Kelly J. Mays. 9th edition. New York: Norton 2007. 234-35.
This poem begins with two intimate lovers on the beach. Then a dead, ugly goose fish washes up on the shore right before their eyes. The poem takes a turn with the appearance of this fish as the two lovers are revealed to have feelings of guilt, leaving the reader to assume a possible affair is happening here. The goose fish is said to be "smiling" at them, almost mocking their feelings for each other and their guilty consciences.
I like the turn in this poem. I also enjoy the sense of ambiguity in that we are not sure why the lovers are there or what their situation is, but there is a sense of guilt with the appearance of the goose fish. I find it rather humorous to envision to people getting intimate with each other on the beach when all of a sudden this hideous dead fish washes up and interrupts them, then the focus moves to the fish.
This poem relates to another Nemerov poem, "The Town Dump." This poem describes what one would encounter at the town dump. It glorifies the things of peoples lives, deemed as trash, all collected in one place, even referring the dump as a "city." This poem takes something ugly and makes it significant just as the goose fish is given meaning in that poem.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
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I liked your description of the fish almost mocking the lovers as they start to have feelings of guilt. I think the fish might be symbolic in the way it is presented. The fish almost takes on the guilt of the lovers. When one enjoys something, joy is all they can feel. But once guilt starts to surface, that feeling takes over. The fish shows both of the emotions that the lovers are feeling, and I think the way Nemerov chose to represent that is very interesting and unique.
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