K.K. Ruthven: On Ezra Pound's "Fish and the Shadow"

The salmon-trout drifts in the stream,

The soul of the salmon-trout floats over the 


Like a little wafer of light.

The salmon moves in the sun-shot, bright shallow

 sea . . . .

As light as the shadow of the fish that falls 

through the water,

She came into the large room by the stair,

Yawning a little she came with sleep still upon 


"I am just from bed. The sleep is still in my eyes.

Come. I have had a long dream."

And I: "That wood?

And two springs have passed us."

"Not so far, no, not so far now,

There is a place – but no one else knows it –

A field in a valley . . .

Qu’ieu sui avinen,

Ieu lo sai."

She must speak of the time

Of Arnaut de Mareuil, I thought, "qu’ieu sui 


Light as the shadow of the fish

That falls through the pale green water.

Notes. Qu’ieu sui avinen, / Ieu lo sai: "That I am handsome, / I know" (Provencal French).

Arnaut de Mareuil, a medieval troubador, described himself as "handsome" ("avinen"). "The shadow is possibly the memory of an earlier life, a memory stirred only in dreams. In her sleep a girl has experienced an incident which took place in medieval Provence," explains K. K. Ruthven


Title K.K. Ruthven: On Ezra Pound's "Fish and the Shadow" Type of Content Criticism
Criticism Author Criticism Target James Wright
Criticism Type Poet Originally Posted 25 Mar 2020
Publication Status Excerpted Criticism Publication A Guide to Ezra Pound's Personae
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