unigo_skin
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Quotes

Quote #1

battered and venerable (line 8)

The fact that the fish is beat up makes him worthy of the speaker's respect somehow. If you respect something/someone you're humbled by it, right?

Quote #2

I admired his sullen face, (line 45)

This line works the same way line 8 does. The speaker respects and admires this fish, and therefore is becoming humbled by him.

Quote #3

Like medals with their ribbons
frayed and wavering,
a five-haired beard of wisdom (lines 60-62)

OK, so he's gone from a fish to a straight-up wise old man. The respect for this fish has only grown over the course of the poem.

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