Monday, April 11, 2011

Tuesday Poem - The Tank by Vivienne Plumb

The Tank

I hum and write, I hum under
my breath and keep writing.
A good bit about the goldfish
in the tank at Bats. The tank
sits on one of the Bats booth
tables. There are three fish.
Two look like ordinary gold
fish, but the third has really
black rings on its eyes, like
it’s been bashed by the others.
And Victor remarks: Heidi says
if you tap the tank like this,
you could give them a heart
attack. And he taps the tank.
And I guess that’s what it is
we can feel sometimes,
it’s Victor’s big fat finger
tapping the tank.

*References to ‘Bats’ – Bats Theatre, Wellington, N.Z.

I can hardly find a thing to say about this poem because the first time I read it it went straight into me and on subsequent readings it still has that same swift, sharp effect. It works and it's straight. An extra bonus for me is that I know Bats. When it was Unity Theatre that was where me and my husband-to-be played in a production of Richard III.

Vivienne Plumb was born in Australia and now lives in Auckland. I joke to her about how I was born in Wellington and now live in Australia. I tell her we keep the balance by never living in the same country. But that doesn't always work out. Sometimes we live in the same country. Her newest book is called Crumple and is put out by Helen Rickerby's Seraph Press.


  1. What a superb poem - especially the ending!

  2. Yes, I have to admit I was initially thrown by the odd beginning, but I'm pleased I came back again, the ending really is brilliant.

  3. I've always been a big fan of this poem - I love the last four lines in particular. And thanks so much for the plug for Crumple!

  4. The poem has an irresistible vitality. Wonderful.

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