James Frederick William Rowe
An answer I once gave
For the habit of my philosophy
On why I am so often immersed past my head
In the fathoms of inquiry:
I suppose I am like the Anglerfish
Combing the abyssal plains of knowledge
So accustomed to the deeps
That the shallows would kill me
Poet’s Notes: This poem is taken from a conversation I had a few years ago, where I actually did answer precisely as in this poem, likening myself to the seafloor-combing anglerfish in respect to my philosophical inquiries. These fish are known to explode from depressurization when brought to the surface by fishermen, so accustomed are they to the crushing water pressure in their natural climate, meaning they quite literally cannot survive in shallow water (or the open air). An anglerfish is also known for having a lit “bulb” at the end of an antenna that hangs before its mouth, which serves both to light its way and to entice prey to its maw, both of which seem oddly suited to philosophy.
Aesthetically, I simply took the actual conversation and made it into the second stanza. The first was later added to give the poem an explanation of why I so uttered these words, so that the context would be preserved as well. I did not want the poem to simply be my clever retort, and so be reduced to something like a quip.