Home > An Opening in the Body > Psalm 152: Fishers of Men

Psalm 152: Fishers of Men

April 11, 2006

If they’re fishing for us with nets we’re OK
and the only real danger with being caught
in a net is letting go before you get hauled in
and then just falling back here and landing
with a bone-breaking thud
and then where are you?

Not taken, but not the same as before
because now you’ve got powdered vertebrae
and a pliant pelvis and the net won’t be back
in this lifetime so you’ll just have to become
a sole or something like that
a bottom-dweller with both eyes
on top of the head forever looking up
to a surface now entirely devoid of boats.

But if they’re fishing for us with hooks
we’ve got to take the bait
even though it bloody hurts
so you have to resolve beforehand that
this is the body which is given for me

and you’d better swallow it whole
so the hook’s gulped past the tongue
and the voicebox and right down into
the gut snagging in somewhere between
the heart and the belly and lifting you
even as it pierces your heart’s chambers

and up you go writhing and chanting
and spinning with arms flung wide as a
helicopter rescue and the other end so far
above your vision you can’t even think of it
but you know that is where you are going,
dragged by your breastbone towards the light.

by Ross Clark

  1. April 13, 2006 at 7:13 pm

    Amazing.

    Thank you so much for sharing this.

  2. April 16, 2006 at 10:02 am

    I love the last line — “dragged by the breastbone toward the light”!

    The imagery’s terrific.

    I wonder if this might work better as a prose-poem? The line breaks don’t make much sense to my ear — reading this aloud I find I just ignore them. The words want to rush, not march.

  3. MB
    April 16, 2006 at 8:53 pm

    dragged by your breastbone towards the light.

    Fascinating and remarkable exploration of … it all.

  4. April 20, 2006 at 9:46 am

    I hate being caught…. And the worm?

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