All right. Try this, Then. Every body I know and care for, And every body Else is going To die in a loneliness I can't imagine and a pain I don't know. We had To go on living. We Untangled the net, we slit The body of this fish Open from the hinge of the tail To a place beneath the chin I wish I could sing of. I would just as soon we let The living go on living. An old poet whom we believe in Said the same thing, and so We paused among the dark cattails and prayed For the muskrats, For the ripples below their tails, For the little movements that we knew the crawdads were making under water, For the right-hand wrist of my cousin who is a policeman. We prayed for the game warden's blindness. We prayed for the road home. We ate the fish. There must be something very beautiful in my body, I am so happy.
From Above the River: The Complete Poems by James Wright. Copyright © 1992 by the literary estate of James Wright. Reprinted by permission of Wesleyan University Press. All rights reserved.
Born in Martins Ferry, Ohio, on December 13, 1927, James Arlington Wright won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry and was elected a fellow of The Academy of American Poets
Date Published: 1992-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/northern-pike