An Analytical Essay Of The Poem 'a Message From The Fish'

1038 words - 5 pages

In his poem A Message From The Fish, Philip Hobshawm describes the destruction that humans cause to the earth, particularly to the ocean and all of its residents. Hobshawm's poem is so effective because he has written it as if he himself were a fish, referring to the fish as 'we'. His poem is written as an appeal to all humans, mainly fishermen, to be more careful with the fragile earth and to think of the consequences of their actions.Hobshawm is a fairly unrecognised poet, as he has not had many works published. He grew up by the sea and has lived most of his life there. The old seaman feels strongly about fish being slowly wiped out, he has watched fishermen 'reap' the fish for many ...view middle of the document...

These long vowel sounds used to describe the fish make the poem slow, creating calmness and almost mirroring the action of a fish swimming gracefully through the water. While the fish are written as graceful and calm, humans are described as 'Upright and dry, threshing our ancient paths'. This abrupt change of pace and mood is done by using sharp, hard words compared to the long, drawn out sounds which described the fish. This technique allows Hobshawm to portray the fish as soft and calm while humans are hard and rough, which adds to the on-going positioning of the reader.Throughout this first stanza, Hobshawm cleverly reflects on some underlying facts. The words 'If we should swerve one year in any ten' reflects on the fact that some fish return to the exact place that they were born, to mate. This suggests that they are smart and loyal. Hobshawm describes humans as 'People of the skies' searching the fish out. This refers to the fact that fish live in the sea below us so we, to them, live in the sky. Because we live above them and we have control over them we are regarded as the dominant species, but Hobshawm indicates that we are abusing the power that we posses. Metaphors are used such as 'threshing', this is usually associated with harvesting so this creates a picture in the readers mind of humans harvesting fish. Short statements are also used to cause maximum impact 'We breed and throng. You reap'. This statement suggests that the fish are doing all the work while humans are taking advantage of them.The attack against humans continues in the second stanza, as Hobshawm imagines a catastrophe brought on by fishermen. He describes a beach scattered with millions of decayed fish which would...

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