Wednesday, September 11, 2013

It's all about one word

I like this poem for a host of reasons, but there is all of one word that really makes the whole thing pop; at least for me.  (Actually, there are two but one is greater than the other.)

Can you find it?

At The Far End of a Long Wharf by Thomas Lux

At the far end of a long wharf
a deaf child, while fishing, hauls in
a large eel and -- not
because it is ugly -- she bashes its brains
out of eeldom on the hot
planks -- whamp, whamp, whamp, a sound
she does not hear.  It's the distance
and the heat that abstracts
the image for me.  She also does not hear,
nor do I, the splash the eel makes
when she tosses it in her bucket,
nor do we hear the new bait
pierced by the clean hook, nor
its lowering into the water again.
Nobody could.  I watch her
all afternoon until, catching nothing
else, she walks the wharf toward
me, her cousin, thinking
with a thousand fingers.  Pointing
at our boat she tells me
to drag it to the water.  She wants me to row
her out to the deep lanes of fish.
Poetry is a menial task.


Maria said...

I like "thinking with a thousand fingers"!

Chad Hull said...

I like that line too, but I think I had to read it a couple a times and think about it before I understood what it meant.

Marion said...


Marion said...

I meant eeldom. Weird typo there.

Chad Hull said...

Eelcom is good; sounds like some kinda of codeword.

"Menial" was my favorite word in this poem.