Many poets have written about animals, in many different ways. The first poem given here seems essentially whimsical, relating the adventures of little fish that got to land and proceeded to enjoy themselves outrageously.
Apart from flying kites, they were rumoured to have enjoyed themselves in night clubs.
The poem is translated by S Pathmanathan from an original work by Cheliyan, the pen-name of S Sivakumaran. Born in 1960, he was involved early on in Tamil politics, but left Sri Lanka in 1986 as a refugee and has lived in Canada ever since. One wonders therefore whether the fry are not a metaphor for emigrants like himself, who left a relatively simple background for the complexities of the West, and ended up dissolving ‘their hearts in the frothing beer… weeping on the banks of the Thames’. Be that as it may, the poem is immensely engaging.