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Cave Fish
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Once I swam, weightless,
In a red-gold sea both vast and small
A sightless cave fish tethered
Light and dark, both were warmth to me.

Once I swam, kicked, spasmed,
A sound like waves, two heartbeats colliding,
And then an inexorable tide pulled me under,
Drew me out, and I began to scream.

Pain.

My tether cut, my memories poured out
I forgot in the fear of being cold and alone
For the first time.

I forgot and breathed and slept and dreamed,
A translucent veined cavernous sky,
Of liquid breath and lost gravity,
Lost every morning as I woke.

Until one day as I opened my eyes
Morning sun washed the walls of my room,
And I lay there curled around a secret cavern
A Capricorn's dream carried in water.

Pain.

A tiny earthquake, and blood poured out,
A long slow agonizing geyser, warm and dark,
A first and last time.

I woke and touched my skin, and cried,
The cave fish is gone.

The sunless sea is empty.

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elizabeth mitchell
may 2002
You don't know how it feels.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2005-09-01
Cave Fish by *pixelfish shares with us a memory that we all have, perhaps, but are unaware of. The imagery sneaks up on her reader as if she's revealing a secret to us. ( Suggested by phil-light and Featured by ndifference )
:iconhighstrung:
highstrung Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005  Hobbyist Digital Artist
i really like this poem. Alas though, since i'm not a well spoken as the other deviants that critiqued i can't really say that theres anything wrong with how you displayed your emotions with the words. When i write a poem i write it as though i ws actually speaking it, so some grammar mistakes WILL be made, and i feel as if you were writing it that way.so all in all i really like it just the way feels.
(P.S i'm gunna be a little immature and say it reminded me of loosing ones virginity. From the female perspective ^^;)
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:iconrhayningacidity:
RhayningAcidity Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005
Brilliant bit of writing. You seemd to pour your very essence into this piece, which is refreshing in today's half-ass world. I'm not going to rip this to shreds because, being a writer myself, I know it's not always good to do that to someone's work. But this could flow a tad better, it's not terribly choppy, but some parts are hard to understand when you read it at first... "A translucent veined cavernous sky...", commas would help to break this up a little bit more. Other than that, I absolutely adored it.

Dark Prodigy:blackrose:
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:iconpixelfish:
pixelfish Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005  Professional Interface Designer
Thanks for the compliments. I do look at it now and think it's a bit choppy. Do you think it's wrong to polish something when it's based on a specific event in your life, and those were the raw words you had at the time? I'd like to polish it, but I fear losing something in the process.
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:iconrhayningacidity:
RhayningAcidity Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005
I'd say keep the original on hand, for you(so you can keep the rawness of the words), but polish the public one. It'll give away a little less of the real effect than you'd like, but it would be an easier piece to read and understand to others.

Personally, I loved the feel of it, but if I hadn't felt a true connection with it I would have passed it by without a second glance. It does seem to have an aluring power the way it is, so why not do a second of the same piece, but slightly revised, and call it a completed piece. Then, you can have the best of both.

Enjoyed it! ^.^

Dark Prodigy:blackrose:
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:iconseelai:
seelai Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005
I’m pretty sure you’ve heard this a lot, but your wording and imagery is amazing. Brilliant use of words. You create a scene very noteworthy.
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:iconpixelfish:
pixelfish Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005  Professional Interface Designer
Thank you for your comments on my poem. :)
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:iconseelai:
seelai Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2005
You’re very welcome. ^_^
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:iconaliceinthunderland:
aliceinthunderland Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005
Wow. Amazing.
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:iconpixelfish:
pixelfish Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005  Professional Interface Designer
Thanks. :)
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:iconfearmylackofsanity:
FearMyLackOfSanity Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005
Wow...great symbolism.
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:iconpixelfish:
pixelfish Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005  Professional Interface Designer
Danke. :)
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:iconjellygraph:
Jellygraph Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005   Writer
A sightless cave fish tethered
Light and dark, both were warmth to me.


I would put a comma after 'tethered' and rephrase the second line to "light and dark both warm to me." It's just very awkward to read, currently, especially with no punctuation after 'tethered'.

I would drop "Until" in stanza 6, a comma or dash after "cavern".

In 8, I would drop "and". I would reconsider "blood poured out". It's sort of expected. Try a different image, or at least put it more uniquely.

In 9, I would drop "is". And maybe move the last line up, connect the two with a comma, like so: "The cave fish gone, / the sunless sea empty". Just an idea.

Sorry for the nitpicking. But little things can disrupt rhythm.

I think the metaphor's good--the idea of swimming blind, unaware, having that comfort suddenly stripped. But it's generally too big a metaphor. I think it needs more concrete moments, some more tangible things that the reader can hook onto. It's just a bit too abstract for me. But good one. I enjoyed it; keep truckin'.
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:iconpixelfish:
pixelfish Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005  Professional Interface Designer
Thanks for the suggestions. As I mentioned in another comment, I do worry that I'll lose some of the raw emotion, although I suppose good grammar merely facilitates comprehension. If I do a reposting of the poem, I may keep them in mind. (However, the poem is three years old, and I hadn't thought to revisit it. But maybe getting a DD will spur me.)
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:icon3pieces-of-chaos:
3pieces-of-chaos Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005
Oh, come-come now, no one asked for you to rewrite their poem, or nitpick their grammar. If there was something blatantly wrong like a misspelled word, then you should say something critical, but this is not the case. Also, if you liked the poem, you wouldn't find so much fault with it.

Remember, there is a difference between criticism and nitpicking; the latter being offensive, so please try to speak your mind less
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:iconpixelfish:
pixelfish Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005  Professional Interface Designer
Thanks for standing up for me, but really I don't mind the critique. :)
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:iconpoeticwar:
PoeticWar Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005   Writer
Any amount of nit-picking is absolutely okay on any piece marked 'Critique Welcome'. You aren't going to win favours by going around 'defending' people from oh so malicious crit.

Oh wait. ~Jellygraph's critique was actually extremely useful to anyone looking to improve.

Maybe you should leave a comment that's in some way useful on this deviation instead of bitching at people who are trying to help.
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:iconboogster:
Boogster Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005
Shush. Any critical remark, especially one as good natured and helpful-minded as this, should be encouraged.
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:iconmoeffju:
moeffju Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005  Hobbyist Photographer
:o
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:iconjellygraph:
Jellygraph Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005   Writer
Some people appreciate critique, in whatever form. I don't think it's your place--she can take it up with me if she thinks it's "offensive".
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:iconpixelfish:
pixelfish Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005  Professional Interface Designer
No worries.
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:iconsaintartaud:
saintartaud Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005
I think there are some nice moments in this poem. There's a certain surrealism in much of the imagery that could be partially due to its symbolic nature. While I think I have a general idea of what it's saying, there's a nice ambiguity.

I do think the puncutation is a bit sloppy. There are a number of stanzas that would be clarified by cleaning up the puncutation. There are also places where the rhythm felt off to me. Perhaps adding or subtracting words could fix this. Also, playing with the syntax.

Overall, I think it's interesting, and did enjoy reading it.
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:iconpixelfish:
pixelfish Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005  Professional Interface Designer
At the time I was trying for a specific, if informal, structure. I agree the syntax and punctuation could stand a little polishing--I'll keep your comments in mind, should I revise. :)

Thanks for compliments all around.
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:iconsombermuse:
Sombermuse Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005
your imagery, word play and choice is top notch. bloody good writing here, this is a better example of great writing that I have seen recently on deviantart. bloody well written poet.
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:iconpixelfish:
pixelfish Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005  Professional Interface Designer
Thank you. All these compliments are making me feel warm and fuzzy. I'm glad you liked the poem.
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:iconsombermuse:
Sombermuse Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005
mhm your writing deserves the compliments, you have a writing skill I only wish I could have. =) keep up the great work you professional poet you lol
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:iconkecen:
kecen Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005
I can quite imagine a fetus floating in the womb when reading this...
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:iconpixelfish:
pixelfish Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005  Professional Interface Designer
That's one of the images I was trying to evoke--glad you caught it.
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:icontmpst24myst:
tmpst24myst Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005  Student Writer
I haven't read any poetry in well over a year, therefore my commenting skills are rusty.
This is quite impressive, however I don't believe the emotions behind this piece are meant to be so. Very well written.
You're right, I don't know how it feels.

*note* leave the word geyser as it is. imo. it helps the point that is being missed here.

Again, well done.

Dae
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:iconpixelfish:
pixelfish Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005  Professional Interface Designer
Thank you. I did worry about the word choice for geyser, but it matches my thoughts at the time.
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:icontsuppi:
Tsuppi Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005
Man, I might not know exactly what this is about, but I know enough to know that this is some good stuff.

Congrats on the DD!

XDXD,
Tsuppi//Signe
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:iconpixelfish:
pixelfish Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005  Professional Interface Designer
Thanks for commenting. It's my first DD, so I'm rather excited. I'm glad you enjoyed the poem.
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:iconlidiabartlam:
lidiaBartlam Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005   General Artist
miau!!!!!!!!!!
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:iconthefalsedragon:
TheFalseDragon Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005  Hobbyist Writer
this is wonderful, makes my poetry look like its a brick wall (well i hope not)
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:iconpixelfish:
pixelfish Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005  Professional Interface Designer
Thank you. I don't attempt poetry very often--it's usually instigated by an emotional event in my life--so it's nice to see it appreciated.
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:iconthefalsedragon:
TheFalseDragon Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005  Hobbyist Writer
the best poetry is as far from spam as you can get, you can only get that by exploring ideas or emotions you hold within yourself most "poets" on dev don't both with that. seems they want to keep up with the photographers
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:iconthefalsedragon:
TheFalseDragon Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005  Hobbyist Writer
this is wonderful, makes my poetry look like its a brick wall (well i hope not)
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:iconzebrazebrazebra:
zebrazebrazebra Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005  Professional Writer
Not doing it for me, but congratulations anyway. It's an interesting subject to tackle.
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:iconpixelfish:
pixelfish Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005  Professional Interface Designer
Thanks.
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:iconradiophonic:
radiophonic Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005   General Artist
You're such a bitch. :spank:
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:iconzebrazebrazebra:
zebrazebrazebra Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005  Professional Writer
You wouldn't be doing that if you didn't enjoy it. ;P
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:iconcharmology:
Charmology Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005
your poetry is absolutely beautiful. i had to read it twice to really get the full meaning. the first time i got halfway there. beautiful imagery, and an interesting concept to express feelings at such an event.
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:iconpixelfish:
pixelfish Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005  Professional Interface Designer
Thank you. I'm glad you stuck with the poem--I did wonder if it was alternately too obvious, or perhaps not obvious enough.
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:iconcharmology:
Charmology Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005
i don't think you would have achieved such an effect if it had been too obvious. ;)
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:iconsend:
send Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005
I think it's strength lies in the actual repetition of words without making them have a different ring to them. The central pain never escapes you, which is very capturing. Very strong piece.
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:iconpixelfish:
pixelfish Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005  Professional Interface Designer
Thank you for your kind comments. I'm glad you enjoyed the poem--it was a very personal experience and it's nice to see the positive reception of the poem.
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:icontessra:
tessra Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005
Indredible...maye i ask but dose this have to do with heartache?...i just got somthing about heartache come through that seemed to fit.
What inspired this?
Its soo... wonderful. I can feel the pain of the poor fish. I think i can understand how it feels. Poor thing.
Wonderful.
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:iconpixelfish:
pixelfish Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005  Professional Interface Designer
I'm glad you enjoyed it, and I hope you figured out the experience I was describing. I like to use poems to show events from my life, but it's like placing them in a code.
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:iconbomboy:
bomboy Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005
i am a lizard!
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:iconszpilman:
szpilman Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2005
No, I don't know the fishy feeling of...no, I dare not use words for it. Art like yours must remain undefined.

Is the sunless sea empty? Oh, I sometimes envy you, english poets, because I have a severe language barrier to post my humble writings to DA. You can be lucky. If it can be called luck.

Sorry for bothering you. ;)
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:iconszpilman:
szpilman Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2005
I certainly agree with your baby-swimming theory, I just watched a midnight scientific debate about it and read some very clear and argumented articles.

Isn't it wonderful, that we are in fact so smart from the beginning on? Kids can communicate with adults on the same level just after they're born - it's only that their "emitters" aren't as developed as later on.
Coleridge, eh...luckily, I have, though I read so many other world poetry rather than the english spoken one...
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