If you haven’t read the introduction page for this website, I encourage you to check that out now! You might find the context it brings will make reading this more meaningful. With that being said, this poem is mostly the reason I made this website, and it is, more or less, the theme of it. Following it will be some more explanation into kinda what the poem is getting at. So without further ado.
The Fish (Day Two)
It is Day Two. I am still afraid,
however less so than yesterday.
I know not how long I will be here, so I wait.
I have been consumed by a fish. Yesterday,
there had been no reason for me to expect anything but destruction.
This fish, I had assumed, would certainly consume me.
break me down into nothing,
until I was nothing.
And at first, it seemed it was the case.
It was cramped, suffocating.
It was dark.
I am at a crushing depth…
Now day two. It is dark, still, and
it is still cramped.
Yet as the first day fades into the next,
it is less suffocating.
The hand of God has been upon me, surely, for I press on.
Day two is the worst of it, and somehow the best of it.
The Fish is so very, very real, and I know one day I will leave it all behind,
but until I do,
how much of this can I take?
And the more I turn my thoughts to my exit, it terrifies me.
This Fish is all I’ve known, underwater is the only life I’ve lived.
Dry land, they say it’s better but
the gravity of the transition.
It leaves me shaking.
It is my Fish.
It has been my Fish all along.
My Fish is Anxiety and panic.
My Fish is a fear of dry land.
A fear of my life after this.
I repeat the truths to myself
of the goodness and clarity of dry land,
but I was born underwater… How can I be anything but
I press on.
I mentioned Day Two was also somehow the best of it,
I suppose I should clarify.
The Fish is so real,
it is my enemy. Forever
to plague me and fight me and push back
peace or joy at
Yet it is a less unfamiliar demon today. Day Two.
I’ve found when I look to the Source of oxygen,
it is less suffocating.
Even when there is no oxygen to be found
in the belly of this beast
… I press on.
This Fish has been the closest thing to dry land I think there is
for me to feel,
and this fish has forced my eyes upon emerging,
the transition from out of the water to the freedom,
to the air, where
we should actually be able to
And as terrifying as I often find this transition,
I know my Fish only exacerbates this,
and I know, truly, that there is peace to be found
on the other side.
I press on …
to dry land. To the day
where the Fish will die.
Where i will have no fear of
suffocating, no fear of darkness, or cramped spaces,
for they will no longer exist.
as I endure Day Two,
it is still dark,
and it is still cramped, and at times
I am still suffocating,
but the hand of God must surely still be here,
for I press on.
penned October 1st, 2018
I came up with this idea at directors group. I can thank TJ and Allison for the activity we did, where we were tasked with writing something creative to describe the beast we find ourselves in the belly of (love you guys). I wrote a little at the time and was unsatisfied, and then rewrote it and fleshed it out at a later time.
We have been studying the book of Jonah, and it is from the story of Jonah (being swallowed by a fish and then getting heaved up on land 3 days later) that much of the inspiration for this metaphor has come.
Jonah spends three days in the belly of this fish. This fish is terrifying, yet it is his journey to dry land.
My anxiety is hell. But it is part of my journey towards Heaven.
I describe myself in day two. I used the three days of Jonah’s story to represent three stages of my life with anxiety. The first day was the first year or so dealing with it, when it came out of nowhere and swallowed me up, leaving me in chaos and terror. I feel as if I’ve moved into the next stage, where the fear is less new, and less potent. It is no less real, but more familiar, easier to bear.
The Source is Jesus. He is our oxygen when there is none to be found. I would not have made it through the first day without Him, much as Jonah would not have made it long in the fish if God did not provide some kind of oxygen for him. I would be lost to this beast, and it would have dissolved and destroyed me were it not for His steady hand.
It is hard to see the blessing that is disguised by the chaos at times, but He reminds me often that He is there and is working through it, even when I cannot see it.
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