Poem of the Week: “Aquarium, February,” by Liz Ahl


A note about the choosing of this poem from Center for Poetry Intern, Allison Costello: “In light of the intense winter storm that has made its way across Michigan, I wanted to choose a poem that referenced winter but honored the safety and stillness of indoors. “Aquarium, February” by Liz Ahl does just that, describing the ice outside making “daggers of the grass” in a blizzard, while the “neon” sea creatures behind the glass of the aquarium are blissfully unaware to the harshness of the outdoors. I thought we could all use the comforting imagery of the warm water flowing around the “meditative bass” in contrast to the hectic frozen landscape we’re experiencing right now.”


Aquarium, February

Liz Ahl


When ice outside makes daggers of the grass,

I come to where the tides of life still flow.

The water here still moves behind the glass.


In here, the seasons never seem to pass—

the sullen shark and rays still come and go.

Outside the ice makes daggers of the grass


and coats the roads. The meditative bass

won’t puzzle how the blustery blizzards blow.

The water here still moves. Behind the glass,


rose-tinted corals house a teeming mass

of busy neon creatures who don’t know

“outside.” The ice makes daggers of the grass


and oily puddles into mirrors. Gas

freezes in its lines; my car won’t go,

but water here still moves behind the glass.


No piles of valentines, no heart held fast—

just sea stars under lights kept soft and low.

Outside, the ice makes daggers of the grass;

in here, the water moves behind the glass.





Poem copyright ©2008 by Liz Ahl, “Aquarium, February,” from A Thirst That’s Partly Mine,

(Slapering Hol Press, 2008).




Published by cpoetrymsu

The Center for Poetry opened in the fall of 2007 to encourage the reading, writing, and discussion of poetry and to create an awareness of the place and power of poetry in our everyday lives. We think about this in a number of ways, including through readings, shows, community outreach, and workshops. We are at work building a poetry community at MSU and in the greater Lansing area. Contact: cpoetry@msu.edu (517) 884-1932 http://www.poetry.rcah.msu.edu

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