(love song, with two goldfish) Commentary
The poem “(love song, with two goldfish),” by Grace Chua, depicts the experiences of two fish in a fishbowl. The poem chronologically depicts the different stages of the relationship between the two fish. Chua presents these goldfish as a metaphorical representation for a man falling in love with a woman, and uses this metaphor to present a sad ending to a relationship in a lighthearted way. Just as the poem is very chronological, it is most easily analyzed stanza by stanza.
The title of the poem introduces us right away to metaphor that will be presented throughout the whole poem. The words “love song” give us the initial impression the poem will be about a relationship between to people. It introduces a theme, typically attributed to love songs, of longing for someone or expressing feelings for another that will be present throughout the whole poem. The second phrase in the title, “with two goldfish,” lets us know that Chua will be using goldfish to tell this love story, and that the reader should be aware the poem is not literally talking about two goldfish. Also, the use of parenthesis is the first instance of a technique used throughout the whole poem that gives a reader the feeling of being trapped in the fishbowl much like the two goldfish in the poem. This techniques effect becomes more apparent by the end of the poem.
The first stanza introduces the male fishes longing for the female fish that is in the same bowl as him. Chua presents an image of the fish floating around, describing him as a drifter and always floating around her. The enjambment in the first stanza makes the flow very choppy, and gives an uneasy nervous feeling associated with the male fish as if he is swimming around the bowl in this way. The image of a fishbowl is again presented with parenthesis around the whole stanza, but also when Chua writes, “has nowhere else to go” (3). By giving this fishbowl image right away it allows the reader...