Ant, Fish and Angel – John Blight – Comments

Ant, Fish and Angel

Part of me, in the morning, may be an ant
or a fish swimming away, as I spit,
or defecate, collectively fouling the bay.
So I am part of my world and can’t
escape the bare truth, I am part of it;
that somewhere, an ant, or a fish swimming away,
is part of me. Oh ant! oh, circling fish!
stay, and look hard at me. Is it your wish
to be part of man, to devour his innate fear?
Into the maw of an ant I disappear.
How trifling, – be it a minnows appetite
or some great fish in a more sizeable bite
disposes of me – as such to reappear!
Angels and gods come bite and take your share.

John Blight (1913 – 1995)
Taken from The Oxford Book of Australian Religious Verse.

This is such a different poem from my last Post in which Mary Oliver sees beauty in all nature and exhibits a sort of pantheistic undertone as she encounters the majesty of the world about her. But in this poem the whole of nature is reduced to a ‘dog eat dog’ devouring process. Everything is trapped in this process – we cannot escape for this is the way of the world. Everything is transformed to reappear as evolution takes its course, and we are all part of it.

One thing interesting is the implicit idea of zero waste for ‘everything’ is devoured – human waste is not wasted – thanks to the ant and the fish. It reminded me of the time I was in rural Vietnam a couple of years ago and being shown a ‘fish toilet’ by a villager.

Does it really matter how we are ‘devoured’? Well, there is a plea to the angels and the gods to come and take a share! Perhaps this is implicit anyway – if you take a pantheistic view of things!

Perhaps the creator didn’t have a waste-bin – something digest.

Sonnet – rhyming scheme abc/abc/dd/ee/ff/e/g
Maw = the mouth, stomach, jaws, or gullet of a voracious animal

John Blight on Wikipedia –

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