Monday, October 30, 2017
"Shooting Fish" by Lauren McBride
When the wind is calm, I like to look
in the glassy pools of Shady Brook.
I'll cast no fly to the fish gliding by,
caught with my camera, not a hook.
Poet's Notes: My father was an avid fisherman. I used to fish with him when I was little. Then I began to enjoy watching fish swim around in the water and felt less inclined to catch them on a pointy hook. Years later and miles away, I started snapping pictures of various fish so I could ask my dad what kind each was.
Somehow, fish photos became the subject of this poem using a form new to me, the gwawdodyn, which I first saw posted on Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides Blog in 2013. Welsh in origin, I became eager to try this form after the Editor introduced me to another Welsh form, the englyn penfyr. An example of this form may be found here http://www.songsoferetz.com/search?q=englyn+penfyr.
The gwawdodyn is composed of quatrains that require nine syllables per line and hard rhymes for lines 1, 2, and 4. Line 3 must have ten syllables and a different internal rhyme. I started by picking words with lots of rhymes like: fish, fin, tail, cast, glass, but nothing worked until I thought of "hook" then "brook" and "look," and my poem took shape instantly.