Tag Archives: fish

Kleptoparasitic Tendencies

Screen Shot 2020-08-03 at 8.50.30 AM.png

Kleptoparasitic Tendencies

At first sight of the sperm whales, the fishermen all cringe,
for these felons of the ocean loiter on the fringe,
and when they hear the motors hauling in  the lines,
each poacher dives to steal the fish, hook after hook, and dines.
The perils of the ocean include gale-force wind and rain,
but this larceny of sperm whales is the larger pain.


To see sperm whales targeting fishing boats for an easy meal, go HERE.

Prompt words for the day are fringe, rain, first, felon and fish.

Everything is in the Shape of a Bird, a Fish or a Woman


Everything is in the Shape of a Bird, a Fish or a Woman

Look how they frown in the old photograph:
my grandmother, her sister,
her two daughters and her granddaughter.   
All of the women are very stern.
Grandma looks out of her element,
her eyes shielded against the sun.

In the yellowing photo,
“Taken at homestead” written on the back,
They stand, stark house behind them.
From the porch overhang, a sparse vine hangs,
but on the hidden tendril of the vine,
in the dead tan prairie that surrounds the scene,
in the summer grass bent low, I imagine birds.

It is a drying photo—brittle, cracked,
of three generations of prairie women.
Although none there knew it,
a waterhole is in their near future,
and in this stock pond that my dad would someday dig,
would swim perch and crappies,
sunfish, northern pike.

And although none there will ever see it,
in my house, everything is in the shape of a bird, a fish or a woman.
On the wall hangs an earthy goddess–
stolid and substantial. 
Birds perch on her shoulder, arm and knee.
On the hearth, a crow formed out of chicken wire.

A soapstone fish swims the window ledge
beside that aging photograph
and on another window ledge
 are two ancient terra cotta figurines.
The small one kneels in her kimono, playing pipes.
The large one stands wide-hipped
with arms narrowing to points
above the elbow.

In my studio,
a still-damp terra cotta figure
holds a fat plum.
On drying canvasses,
Women recline in their vulnerable states–
layers of wet flesh tones, yellows, purplish reds.

The house in the photograph
has been long-felled by rot and fire and rust.
All of the people except the youngest are dead.
Yet still in the grass, the meadowlark.
and in the muddy pond the minnow.

In the glass of the photo frame, I see my own reflection–
thinning lips pulled into one straight line.
around me is their house, their sky, their prairie grass.
In the glass, my face
turns into the face of my grandmother.
I flinch but do not falter.
I look deeper.
Reflected in one eye, a perched bird.
in the other eye, a swimming fish.

for dVerse Poets Open Links

(To enlarge all photos, click on first photo and arrows.)


Catfish Afternoon

I took my visiting friend Christine for a ride around the lake and into Michoacan to Petatan, a little town out on a peninsula that is home to dozens of fisheries and a few restaurants where the catch is about as fresh as it can get. Thousands of egrets, gulls, coots and black wing-tipped pelicans float and fly back and forth waiting for fish parts to be tossed into the water. In the restaurant we chose, the day’s special was blackened catfish and as you can see below, Christine enjoyed every moment of hers. A non-fish-lover, I opted for quesadillas and beans! (Please click on the first photo below to increase the size of all photos and to read the captions.)

When Seafolk Get Together

I know I’m not supposed to be posting anything, but my friend Leslie sent me this email and of course it inspired a poem. Here is the list of collective nouns for ocean animals that she sent me.

Did you know….

It’s a smack of jellyfish
A shiver of sharks
A battery of barracudas
A romp of otters
A consortium of crabs
An audience of squid and
A fever of stingrays

 (Thanks @oceana for the valuable ocean info.)

This is what resulted!


When Seafolk Get Together

I’d like to smack that jellyfish for oozing here and there,
sticking to my elbows and globbing up my hair.
If I had known its tendency to stick right to my belly,
I would have brought some peanut butter to go with my jelly.

Sharks always make me shiver. You can’t tell where they are.
They might be nearly anywhere—swimming near or far.
The Chinese love their shark fin soup. They love its taste and crunch,
and sharks return the favor by having us for lunch.

Who knew a barracuda could navigate on land
and survive on highways as well as sea and sand?
All they need is batteries (the Plymouth folks discovered)
to become amphibious—both land and water covered.

If we made boots in their sizes, I know otters would stomp,
but since they must go barefoot, instead they dive and romp.
They open up their oysters by lying on their backs,
putting rocks on tummies and giving them great smacks.

A consortium of crabs can be an itchy deal.
Not the sort of gathering that one wants to feel.
Perhaps out on the beach it’s easier to bear,
but crabs should never gather in anybody’s hair!

Squid make a perfect audience. They do not mock or sneer.
They have eight hands to clap with, although they cannot cheer.
If you sit behind them, how fortunate for you,
for they wear no hats or hairdos to obstruct your view.

That guy there in that Stingray is a speeder and a weaver.
I think that you could say that he must have racing fever.
If he were a fish, it would be fine to go ballistic.
On land, alas, he’s just a fatality statistic.

Letting the Fish Guide the Way



Letting the Fish Guide the Way

I have a side that is concise. It likes to plan and learn,
but it’s a side that I have found I sometimes have to spurn
to follow something else in me that doesn’t know quite where
it may next be going, and doesn’t really care.

Fate is a fish I follow: brilliant, sleek and swift.
It isn’t anything I’ve earned. It’s simply fortune’s gift.
If I give up and follow, the currents that it chooses
lead to healing waters that soothe my cuts and bruises.

I follow where it it leads me, sometimes swimming blind,
dealing with what ‘s dealt to me, working with what I find,
moving through life’s currents, living from day-to-day.
It works to turn the radar off. The fish can lead the way.

The prompt words today are fish, concise and learn. Thanks to my husband Bob whose line  in a poem “letting the fish guide the way” I have borrowed.



I have recently found a blog I am constantly enchanted by. Its author is a bit of a recluse whose world has become his garden. I especially love two posts in which he talks about his tender care of struggling plants, goldfish found nearly dead under encasements of ice, and his favorite koi, Getsumei (which means Moonlight) newcomer to his pond, who had to be taught how to eat fish food.

Mr. Livingstone, the author of this blog, doesn’t have a reblog button, but he’s given assent to my posting links to a few of his blogs.

In this first link are photos of his garden, along with his story of the struggling little hosta, buried upside down:


And my favorites,  the photos and stories about the gorgeous ghost koi Moonlight, are here:



Debatable Edibles at the Pot Luck Dinner


click on photos to enlarge. jdb photos

Debatable Edibles at the Pot Luck Dinner

That dip indeed looks most delicious—
one of many lovely dishes
spread out here upon the table.
I’d eat them all if I were able,
yet, I admit I am suspicious
of this and several other dishes.

I fear that they may harbor fishes—
foodstuffs far outside my wishes
of consumable provender;
for fish of any size or gender,
no matter how incredible,
I’ve always found inedible.

Tuna, marlin, salmon, cod
are flavors that I find most odd.
Clams and lobster, oysters, shrimp—
brand me as a seafood wimp.
Anything with gill or fin
I do not choose to put within.

No horseradish or mayonnaise
can shield me from the pure malaise
that befalls me when I bite into
a canape I’ll later rue.
You cannot hide that fishy flavor
to turn it to a taste I’ll savor.

Many others  have met defeat
when trying to get me to eat
anything from sea or lake.
It’s a mistake I just won’t make.
So keep your ceviche and dips.
I’ll make do with potato chips.

The prompt today is suspicious.

It is also appropriate for Smorgasbord, which is the June 13, 2018, prompt for Ragtag Daily Prompt today.

Fish Eye: Oddball Challenge, 2/19/2017


The sun was a fortunate accomplice in this shot of the successful fisherman observed by onlookers—one wielding a fishing pole himself.

For Cee’s Oddball Challenge.

Game Fish

Click on the first photo to enlarge all.



See how the mighty fisherman holds me in his hand
to drag me from the ocean and set me in the sand––
to rip the gills away from me and set my spirit free
then wash me off again to see the beauty that was me.

My whole life’s been spent sliding smoothly through the sea,
but now I hang here limply, swinging by his knee.
Only yesterday, I was alive as I could be,
but by tonight I’ll merely be somebody’s tea.

The prompt word today is “Fish.”