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April 1, 2020: Fish Cove

Welcome to Poetry Month this April of the coronavirus. Since all things physical are on hold for now—in the literary world workshops delayed, readings and book tours cancelled, writers’ groups disbanded—I’ve decided to join other state and city poets laureate—lots of others, as well—to share a poem a day online. These will be mostly short lyrics that for various reasons I find wonderful and worth reading over and over.


Here is the first of several from the anthology, A Book of Luminous Things, edited by Czeslaw Milosz. This poem is by Blaise Cendrars (1887-1961). The poet pulls me right alongside him to gaze into the clear water at the scene beneath. I can feel my blood pressure drop when I read this. For me, a mini-vacation, a meditative experience.

FISH COVE

The water is so clear and so calm

Deep at the bottom you can see the white bushes

of coral

The prismatic sway of hanging jellyfish

The yellow pink lilac fish taking flight

And at the foot of the wavy seaweeds the azure

sea cucumbers and the urchins green and purple

Translated from the French by Monique Chefdor

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