This fluid calm in which they move

Seems even livelier than air:

Balloon-like bubbles, rising, give

An effervescent atmosphere.


Their side-set wide Egyptian eyes

Gaze out, impassive, at the green

And fern-filled world on which they browse:

Eyes edged with a soft kohl-drawn line.


Transparent fins, translucent tails,

Bodies whose chain-mail coruscates,

These scarlet fish drift through the aisles

Of algae caught with water lights.


They rise, they sink, once more they rise,

They turn, they slowly glide away

Down to the castle reared across

A chasm in this mimic sea.


And there they waver through the halls,

Their fanlike tails outspread, and there

They rest upon the throne-room sills

Until, like kings, they disappear.