01 March 2011

Flying Fish

I have lived in many half-worlds myself …
 and so I know you.

I leaned at a deck rail watching a monotonous sea, the same circling birds and the same plunge of furrows carved by the plowing keel.

I leaned so … and you fluttered struggling between two waves in the air now … and then under the water and out again … a fish … a bird … a fin thing … a wing thing.

Child of water, child of air, fin thing and wing thing … I have lived in many half worlds myself … and so I know you.

 - Flying Fish by Carl Sandburg, from Smoke And Steel, New York, Harcourt Brace & Company : 1922.

Several of Sandburg's early poems have been likened to haiku, the Japanese influence coming to him through Ezra Pound's Imagist poems, circa 1913.  Think of Subway, Flux,  and Whitelight, for example
For an exploration of related ideas on poetic influences, visit David Ewick's fine website The Margins.
I've included in this little gallery wo of my personal favorite works that suggest the magical qualities of  'flying' fish: Charles Schneider's bubble-blowing vase and Seraphine Soudbinine's harp-fish.  I like to think that fish are able  hear harp-like sounds underwater, as I do.

1. Jennifer Bartlett - Five PM, 1993, Metropolitan Museum of Art. NYC.
2. Arthur Wesley Dow, Fish Leaping A Waterfall, c. 1895-1902, Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, DC.
3. Tokyo Printing Company - At the Aquarium, early 20th century, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
4. Eugene Rousseau - Carp and Waves, c. 1873-1875, Musee d'Orsay, Paris.

5. Fish plaque for the fountain at Hotel de Ville, 1893, Musee Andre Dubouche, Limoges.
6. Villeroy & Bosch - fish tile, c.1900, from 1000 Tiles: Ten Centuries of Decorative Ceramics, Chronicle Books, San Francisco: 2004.
7. Charles Schneider - pink glass vase, c. 1922-1925, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
8. Seraphine Soudbinine - ceramic fish stylized in the shape of a lyre, 1930s, National Ceramics Museum, Sevres.
9. Fujusa - fish tapestry - Musee des Arts decoratifs, Paris.


alestedemadrid said...

Beautiful post.

Profoundly Superficial said...

Sublime! Thank you.

Jane said...

Alestedemadrid, beautiful fish!

Jane said...

Welcome, Profound one. I love fish pictures, ceramics, etc. When I was six, my mother gave me my first goldfish bowl and I was imprinted for life. I stood and stared at the fish for hours.