Books International Literatura Europa Picture Books Poetry Poetry Friday Reading Themes

[Poetry Friday] A Playful Meditation On Poetry’s Meaning in “This Is A Poem That Heals Fish”

poetry friday

Myra here.

It has been way too long since I have joined the Poetry Friday community. This week (hosted by Jone from Check it Out), I am glad to be sharing an international picturebook title that also fits our Literatura Europa reading theme until end of August.

This Is A Poem That Heals Fish

Story by: Jean-Pierre Siméon Illustrated by: Olivier Tallec Translated by: Claudia Zoe Bedrick
Published by: Enchanted Lion Books, 2007
ISBN-10: 1592700675
ISBN-13: 9781592700677
Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.

The young boy named Arthur feels that his fish is about to die of boredom, and he asked his mother for help. After closing her eyes, Arthur’s mother told him to hurry and feed his fish a poem, before heading off for her tuba lesson.

The problem, though, is that Arthur has no idea what a poem is. And so he searched high and low inside his home, in the hopes of finding a poem, but could find none. He then sought the help of friends and neighbours to figure out exactly what a poem is, and he received varying responses. A few of my favourites can be found here:

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

A poem is when words beat their wings. It is a song sung in a cage.

And the best one yet, at least for me:

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

Pair this book with Micha Archer’s Daniel Finds A Poem which I shared here last year!

How about you, fellow Poetry Friday enthusiasts? What does Poetry mean to you?

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

14 comments on “[Poetry Friday] A Playful Meditation On Poetry’s Meaning in “This Is A Poem That Heals Fish”

  1. The last one for me, too. A poem is something you taste! You roll it around in your mouth, savouring the shape and texture of the words on your tongue.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The sky in your mouth! Beautiful. And as I was reading, I was thinking of DANIEL… and then you mentioned it! Great minds… thank you for sharing, Myra. Good to see you here! xo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Major heart flutters for this post. I adore DANIEL already, so will surely get my hands on This Is a Poem, asap. “A poem is when you hear the heartbeat of a stone.” I so love that.


  4. lindabaie

    I have this book on my list, and it does remind me of “Daniel Finds A Poem”, both wonderful to have and share with children, don’t you think? Thanks, Myra. Poetry carries me to wonderful places!


  5. Wonderful and new to me. Yum. In love, the sky in your mouth. Delicious. Happy Poetry Friday.


  6. So wonderful to e-see you, Myra! Thank your for sharing this joyously poetic post. I’ve seen this book blogged about once before; what a delight. Let’s see, poetry is the shimmer of sunlight on a leaf outside my window, right this instant. XOs from here!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, this is just incredible, and new to me, too! “A poem is when you hear the heartbeat of a stone” – oh, how I love it!


  8. Myra, so glad to see you here. What a lovely book you are introducing. There are some wonderful thoughts on poetry. A poem is a well-designed sundae with many layers of sweetness and surprise.


  9. Myra, good to see you back. I love those responses to What is a poem. I love the sky in your mouth, though I may have to think about the heartbeat of a stone, too. I would love to read the rest of the book.


  10. Maria Popova had a post about This Is a Poem That Heals Fish a while back–and I have been meaning to search out the book. Thanks for the reminder!


  11. maryleehahn

    Welcome back! Right this moment, poetry is the cool breeze coming in the east window, sneaking in to hide from the blaring cry of the coal train headed north.


  12. What a wonderful book! It also reminded me of “Daniel Finds a Poem” as I read it. “A poem is when you hear the heartbeat of a stone.” Love that one! Thanks for sharing.


  13. Welcome back, Myra. To hear the heartbeat of a stone…sigh.


  14. Pingback: [Saturday Reads] My 2017 in Books, Reading Stats, and Best Books Read in 2017 Across Genres – Gathering Books

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