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The Fish

The Fish


by Elizabeth Bishop

Lines 61-65 Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Lines 61-62

Like medals with their ribbons
frayed and wavering,

  • Medals! We're back to the venerable fish from the beginning of the poem and now we have an even better idea of why. It's like he's been given a Medal of Honor, or something.
  • But the ribbons aren't shiny and new, they're "frayed and wavering," more like battle scars than decorative ribbons.

Lines 63-64

a five-haired beard of wisdom
trailing from his aching jaw,

  • Wise, experienced, tough. This speaker really respects the fish.
  • The speaker also recognizes the toll these battles have taken on the fish.

Line 65

I stared and stared

  • Well DUH. The speaker has been staring and staring this whole poem.
  • This makes us a bit nervous though. The fish is out of the water, suffocating. What will the speaker do?

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