Commentary on (love song, with two goldfish)".

Authors Avatar by heermajithia11 (student)


The poem, “(love song, with two goldfish) illustrates the relationship between two goldfish. The fable begins with the male conveying his fondness and longing for the female, which is eventually returned by her, then followed by the male’s hopes and dreams for his partner and relationship and ends with his unrequited love. Lastly, the final stanza is dedicated to explaining why the female goldfish ended their liaison. Though the poem explores the love between fish, it can be compared to unrequited love between a man and a woman. Furthermore, Chua uses puns to keep the tone of the poem humorous and lighthearted despite its underlying messages of one-sided love and that of being entrapped.

The first stanza commences with the portrayal of the male’s longing for the female. He displays his desire for her by “always floating around” which shows that he wants to capture her attention. This phrase, in collaboration with “nowhere else to go” suggests that he was not only attached to her but belonged with her. It also hints that the fish are literally confined in the constraints of the fish bow and are unable to escape.

Consequently, in the second stanza the female reciprocates his love. Her attraction towards him is described with the phrase, “makes fish eyes and kissy lips at him” In this scenario the humor comes out through wordplay. Apart from the literal meaning, “fish eye” can be associated to a woman batting her eyelashes in a flirtatious way. In the same way, “kissy lips” can either describe a fish’s mouth which seems to be pouting or refer to a way of showing physical attraction. These physical displays of affection are superficial in comparison to that of the male communicated in the first stanza. Additionally, the line, “swallows his charm, hook, liner and sinker” seems peculiar as it refers to the fishing rod used to trap fish. Literally, it would mean that the fish is willingly being captured which allows the reader to conclude that the female fish knows what she is walking into, and is purposefully encouraging the male fish’s advances. The difference in the emotions felt by the two fish can be related to two people in a relationship who do love each other equally where one’s emotion is greater than the others. Furthermore Chua makes a reference to being “bounded by round wall” which insinuates that there are metaphorical barriers between the two fish, and hence implying that their relationship cannot last. The “round walls” could also be connected to the idea of imprisonment which could mean that the two fish are isolated and that she is stuck with him in the fish bowl.

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Moving on, the male fish fantasizes of a free life with his mate. In his description he is “bowled over”, overwhelmed by the emotions he feels for her and lives an illusion where they would “count the waves” and “dive for pearls like stars”. These phrases are extremely striking and remind the reader of romantic activities that they would share with their loved ones, emphasizing the male’s desire for an emotional connection with her to share “their deepest secrets” in the “submarine silence”. The simile, “pearls like stars” remind the reader of expensive jewels, particularly a wedding ...

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