An analytical Essay of the Poem 'A message from the Fish'

Essay by brendan_43High School, 10th grade August 2004

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In his poem A Message From The Fish, Philip Hobshawm describes the destruction that humans cause to the earth, particularly to the ocean and all of its residents. Hobshawm's poem is so effective because he has written it as if he himself were a fish, referring to the fish as 'we'. His poem is written as an appeal to all humans, mainly fishermen, to be more careful with the fragile earth and to think of the consequences of their actions.

Hobshawm is a fairly unrecognised poet, as he has not had many works published. He grew up by the sea and has lived most of his life there. The old seaman feels strongly about fish being slowly wiped out, he has watched fishermen 'reap' the fish for many years. He decided that something had to be done about it so he wrote A Message From The Fish as an appeal to fishermen to stop using nets to catch huge quantities of fish.


The discourse used in the poem is environmental destruction. This discourse is particularly evident as the poet speaks of people 'smearing the sky' and 'sickening all the land'. These graphic statements are used throughout the poem to influence readers and persuade them to adopt the poet's ideology. Through careful selection of words, Hobshawm creates graphic images of a world tainted by humans. These images are deliberately used to position readers to agree with his beliefs about the horrific destruction of the environment.

The poem is opened with a six-line stanza, followed by two nine-line stanzas. The development of Hobshawm's ideas are clearly displayed in the three stanzas. The first stanza describes what is happening now 'We breed and throng. You reap'. The second stanza tells of what humans are doing to the land. Finally, the third...