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.”
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).