The nature of the relationships throughout the poem seems to change from a seemingly equal sense of love from both goldfish, to a more one-sided relationship in the last stanza of the poem. In the first stanza the male character is said to be a “drifter”, this foreshadows the later stages of the poem as he slowly becomes ambitionless. He is bounded by his own infatuations so much so that he fails to realize what is happening in the present; this is signified in the second stanza where the idea of “round walls” is presented and illustrates that he is completely encompassed by his feelings for her.
This tunnel vision is further represented in the second stanza where “fish eyes” are mentioned, fish eyes are on the side of their body’s, meaning that they can only see things that are happening to the sides of them, and are unable to see what is coming towards them in the foreground.
The relationship is portrayed as being void of mutual feelings, but in the second stanza it is almost as if she is teasing him with her “kissy lips” and trying to get him to fall for her, this instills the emotion of lust and playful-ness to the reader, as she also darts behind the pebbles to further tempt his gaze.
To further reinforce the notion that she is trying to tease him, she hides behind the pebbles in an almost hide and seek fashion, until she is finally caught “hook line and sinker”. This idiom represents that she has fallen for somewhat of a trap, this is because she has no other options as there are no other fish in the sea, so to speak. Puns are used in the third stanza to first represent how he is unequivocally in love with her, he is “bowled” over, meaning that he, not literally, but is figuratively knocked down by his love for her and shows somewhat his emotions of helplessness. With all of the fish related language in this stanza, there is also some foreboding underlying messages with the use of “submarine” and “silence” as submarine means literally to be under the water, this could represent that the relationship is sinking just like a ship would. Also the use of “silence” is a connotation for death and the end of things, which is a representation of the relationship being set up to fail.
The emotion of love is further instilled upon the reader when the author uses “they could count the waves”; this is an important emotional section because it represents how love, just like the waves in the ocean are relentless and that they are seemingly never-ending. In the fourth stanza the reader begins to form an idea that her love for him is a thing of the past, we can see this when “her love’s since gone belly-up”. This example of figurative language is used to give reference to when a fish dies; it will float to the surface with its belly facing upwards, and has the same connotation for the woman’s love and also gives the emotional quality of being wholeheartedly indifferent and detached. One very effective technique that the write uses to portray emotion is similes, but in this stanza the similes endings have been swapped, “fish” and “stone” are in opposite places. This is used to draw the reader’s attention and make them re-read this section of the poem, his heart having sunk like a fish is a simile used to represent how his heart has given up, and is now subjective to whatever might take it on its path, which just so happens to be the bottom of the fish bowl. The fish drinking like a stone is also very ironic because the one way that a fish cannot die by is drowning, yet this is how he is said to have dealt with his sorrows.
In the last stanza we can see a technique used by the author to try and show the separation of the two with literal imagery, the brackets that are representing the fish bowl only encompass one of the protagonist’s each, this is to represent that they are now fully emotionally detached from one another, separated by something more than just the females lack of interest. The phrase “he could not give her” shows that the main reason for the relationship not being able to work was because he could not keep good his promises that he made earlier, and for this she left him alone; this is partly because she is asking for something that he cannot fulfill, which is a life outside the bowl. These words are left outside of the brackets so signify that it is a life without the restraints and limits of the one that they are in now. Ultimately throughout this passage the relationship and the emotional connection between the two fish slowly decays from a hopeful begging to an apathetic detachment toward the end of the poem.
Cite this Commentary on “Love Song with Two Goldfish”
Commentary on “Love Song with Two Goldfish”. (2016, Nov 18). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/commentary-on-love-song-with-two-goldfish/