Saraswati Mela

In awe of poetry- This is a poem that heals fish

A poem is when you have the sky in your mouth..
A poem ...is when words beat their wings..


Poetry always leaves things unsaid, so that new meanings can sprout from the crevices that are left. It is for me no coincidence that the Irish Godddess of medicine and healing, Brigid is also the Goddess of poetry. She carries a cauldron which signify her transformative powers. Mythology dealt with symbols and the image of Brigid is a beautiful homage to understanding  the healing and transformative power of poetry.

The awe and wonders which lie in the recesses of poetry are combined with childhood innocence and curiousty and explored in an enchanting illustrated book- This is a Poem that Heals Fish.

The book begins with the frenzied cried of little Arthur as he says-

Mommy! My fish is going to die!

Come quickly! Leon is going to die of boredom!

As an antidote to the unbearable prosaic and mundane struggles of day-to-day living, Arthur’s Mom prescribes the most primitive and powerful drug for Arthur’s fish-

Hurry , give him a poem!

And she leaves for her tuba Lesson.

Arthur is bewildered , as he doesn’t know what a poem is. He searches in his kitchen, in his cabinets, among the cleaning supplies, even under his bed but nowhere can he find his poem.

Thus , he goes in search to know what exactly is poem and this is where we , along with Arthur embark on a magical journey.

Determined , Arthur continues his search.

He runs to Lolo’s bicycle shop.

Lolo knows everything, laughs all the time. and is always in love.

Lolo-Illustrations from the book

Arthur  asks everyone of his dilemma and gets vastly different answers from all of them.

A poem , Arthur,is when you are in love and have the sky in your mouth…

Oh! Okay…

Arthur’s friend Mrs. Round the baker has the following answer-

A poem ?

I don’t know much about that .

But I know one and it is hot like fresh bread.

When you eat it, a little is always left over..

Oh! Okay.

Poetry as bread-Illustrations from the book

Mahmoud from the deserts has his own answer to the question.

A poem is when you hear the heartbeat of a stone.

Oh! All Right.

Mahmoud and stones-Illustrations from the book

On the mention of a heartbeat Arthur is startled and rushes to his fish . He finds that his colourless existence has lulled him to sleep. As poetry crosses all the barriers of the possible and impossible, Arthur then heads to his pet canary Aristophanes to seek his answer. The bird obliges –

Puffing himself up, Aristophane chirps:

A poem is when words beat their wings.

But perhaps the most endearing and deceivingly simple reply comes from Arthur’s Grandma.

When you put your old sweater on backwards or inside out, dear Arthur, You might say that it is new again. A poem turns words around, upside down..

Grandma’s Upside down -Illustrations from the book


Then she tells her little grand-kid to visit his Grandpa as he often writes poem instead of repairing pipes. Grandpa has no doubts as he says-

A poem is what poets make..

Even if the poets do not know it themselves.

Poets and Poems-Illustrations from the book

After this Arthur goes to his beloved fish and apologizes that he hasn’t found a poem. But he does tell what he has come to know-

A poem is

when you have the sky in your mouth

It is hot like fresh bread,

when you eat it,

a little is always left over.

A poem

is when you hear

the heartbeat of a stone,

when words beat their wings .

It is a song sung in a cage.

A poem

is words turned upside down

and suddenly!

the world is new.


As he understood what a poem is , the world turned a lot more magical for Arthur and his little fish .With poetry Arthur could talk to his fish.

Leon opens one eye , then the other,

and for the first time in his life he speaks.

-Then I am a poet Arthur.


and my poem is my silence……….

Arthur flying away with his fish -Illustrations from the book

Poetry healed the fish and Arthur went on riding on the back of his little Leon, on the wings of his new found imagination.

For a truly heartwarming experience please go through this book which combines innocence, art and poetry to create magic.