Monday, October 30, 2017

"Shooting Fish" by Lauren McBride

Shooting Fish
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

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.

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