As i walked along the pebbly beach
I came upon a tiny fish
Lying on the sand next to a stream
It wasn’t very large at all
Just a tiny little thing

As I watched, it jumped
And bounced three times across the water
Before settling once more upon the river bank
Just lying there
A fish out of water

“Get into the water,” I thought in my head
To the fish, but not said out loud
For that would have made me look foolish
“A fish cannot be on the land.”
But the fish clearly had never been given
That particular message
Or if it had, it had certainly not paid it much attention.

And as I watched, once more, perhaps for my amusement alone
It splish splash splished once more and then again on to the shore.

As we continued walking
So the fish continued to swim around
In the fishbowl of my mind
As if trying to make sense of its new surroundings.

I, however, was captured by this idea
Of a fish that would not stay in the water.
How was this possible?
And more importantly, how was it allowed?
Surely someone had informed this tiny creature
That fish need to be in water?
The passive aggressive stares from the elders
Every time it jumped back out on to the shore
Surely should have sufficed.
The beggings and pleadings of its mom and dad
To “just be like all the other fish.”
What would it have taken for this particular fish
To continue happily on in its splish splash splish
Thudding ways?

I kept walking
While my new companion continued to test out
The waters of my mind

A short while later we returned
And as I crossed the stream
Eager to catch a glimpse of my new beached friend
That had caused such upheaval to my inner self
I caught sight of a small fish swimming in the stream
As fish do
This fish looked about the same size as the other
But it swam from side to side
And round and round
Not looking for a second like it might leave
The comfort and familiarity of the water.
No splish splash splish flopping for this one.
The more I watched, the more it swam
Seemingly content to just be a fish and do what fish do.

It showed no recognition of me
Nothing to suggest it had made a temporary lodging in my brain
And nothing about it beyond its size and form
Told any different story to that of a fish swimming in water.

As I stepped out of the water on the other side
Where the previous encounter had happened just minutes before
I darted my eyes up and down the shoreline
Hoping to once more catch sight of my little friend lying on the river bank

I imagined him gleefully splish splash splish plopping somewhere further upstream perhaps
Before slowly turning back to the path that would eventually lead me back home

= = = = = = =  = =

[For another poem titled ‘Grasp’, click here]