as "little intricate grids of visual symmetry" and remarks: "It is a poem to see with the eye, conceived in a typewriter upon an 8 V2 x 11" sheet of paper" (18). A distinctly modernist poem (see modernism), "The Fish" creates an image with both form and content for the eye to track, and as a result it relies as much upon the reader's sight as upon the music of the language.
However, Moore guides the reader into subsurface depths by blurring the boundary between title and poem. The verb wade, which opens the poem, literally invites readers to enter into an exploration of the image. Once in the poem, readers, like the fish and like the poet, glide through a catalogue of visual undersea images, the poet's language illuminating the unseen world of the sea like the sunlight that moves "with spotlight swiftness / into the crevices." These images of light and motion are balanced by the rocky "defiant" cliff, whose presence suggests both a terrible power and the will to endure. Yet the images maintain an ambiguity characteristic of Moore's poetry and elude formulaic decoding. "The poem pretends that it works visually," Taffy Martin notes, "whereas it should warn readers that images in poems are not always what they seem to be" (95). Ultimately the paradox of "The Fish" is that it invokes the visible even as it explores, both literally and metaphorically, that which evades sight.
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