They are the angels of that watery world,
With so much knowledge that they just aspire
To move themselves on golden fins,
Or fill their paradise with fire
By darting suddenly from end to end.
Glowing a thousand centuries behind
In pools half-recollected of the mind,
Their large eyes stare and stare, but do not see
Beyond those curtains of Eternity.
When twilight flows into the room
And air becomes like water, you can feel
Their movements growing larger in the gloom,
And you are led
Backward to where they live beyond the dead.
But in the morning, when the seven rays
Of London sunlight one by one incline,
They glide to meet them, and their gulping lips
Suck the light in, so they are caught and played
Like salmon on a heavenly fishing line.
Ghosts on a twilight floor,
Moving about behind their watery door,
Breathing and yet not breathing day and night,
They give the house some gleam of faint delight.
Harold Monro's poem "Goldfish" was published in Georgian Poetry 1918-1919. To read this poem in this publication context, follow the link(s) below: