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Goldfish - All the Fun at the Fair

By Ashleylister @ashleylister
Goldfish - All the Fun at the Fair
I remember the goldfish. It probably had the shortest life of any pet. We already had the dog, the ever-pregnant cat, so we also had a couple of kittens; a budgie and now a goldfish. I was thrilled to win it at a fairground attraction though I’ve completely forgotten what skills won me the prize. I carried it tightly in the water-filled plastic bag and took extra care in the back of my friend’s father’s car where at least four of us were jammed in for the journey home. No restrictions in the good old days. It was the beginning of the summer holidays. Our primary education was over and the prospect of going to secondary school was a million light years away and certainly not worth mentioning.We’d had a great day out. I’d eaten parched peas for the first time and we’d all had a hotdog and a toffee apple. We were hot, tired and squashed and we soon got bored of thinking of a name for my goldfish. It became Goldie. In spite of all the wriggling and shoving on the back seat, not a drop of water was spilt and I got Goldie home in one piece.
No, of course we don’t have a goldfish bowl or a fish tank, and no, Mummy, I hadn’t considered any of the points you’re making right now…and I was having a lovely day. Was.
Goldie was temporarily housed in a crystal punch bowl, which was part of a set and apparently my Nanna would go mad if she knew about it. Despite having such a posh home and the best food from the local pet shop, Goldie only lived for two days.
I thought it was just resting, I’d never seen a dead goldfish before. It was floating on its side at the top of the bowl. My mother was full of sympathy and explained that from her own experience, goldfish from fairs didn’t always last very long and that was why she had bought it food but not a proper container. I could have another one from the pet shop if I wanted. I didn’t bother.
 Goldie was a living memory of the wonderful day I’d spent at the fair with friends and the generosity of someone else’s parents. We were moving on into different schools, staying friends, but there would be changes ahead. Another goldfish wouldn’t mean the same.
The punch bowl was returned to the sideboard and as far as I know, Nanna never found out.
I couldn’t choose between these two poems, so here they both are.

Privacy Oh you who are shy of the popular eye, (Though most of us seek to survive it) Just think of the goldfish who wanted to die Because she could never be private.
There are pebbles and reeds for aquarium needs Of eel and of pike who are bold fish; But who gives a thought to a sheltering spot For the sensitive soul of a goldfish? So the poor little thing swam around in a ring, In a globe of a crystalline crudity; Swam round and swam round, but no refuge she found From the public display of her nudity; No weedy retreat for a cloister discreet, From the eye of the mob to exempt her; Can you wonder she paled, and her appetite failed, Till even a fly couldn't tempt her? I watched with dismay as she faded away; Each day she grew slimmer and slimmer.
From an amber hat burned, to a silver she turned Then swiftly was dimmer and dimmer.
No longer she gleamed, like a specter she seemed, One morning I anxiously sought her: I only could stare - she no longer was there .
She'd simply dissolved in the water.

So when you behold bright fishes of gold, In globes of immaculate purity; Just think how they'd be more contented and free If you gave them a little obscurity.
And you who make laws, get busy because You can brighten the lives of untold fish, If its sadness you note, and a measure promote To Ensure Private Life For The Goldfish.

By Robert William Service    

White Ash THERE is a woman on Michigan Boulevard keeps a parrot and goldfish and two white mice.
She used to keep a houseful of girls in kimonos and three pushbuttons on the front door.
Now she is alone with a parrot and goldfish and two white mice … but these are some of her thoughts: The love of a soldier on furlough or a sailor on shore leave burns with a bonfire red and saffron.
The love of an emigrant workman whose wife is a thousand miles away burns with a blue smoke.
The love of a young man whose sweetheart married an older man for money burns with a sputtering uncertain flame.
And there is a love … one in a thousand … burns clean and is gone leaving a white ash.
And this is a thought she never explains to the parrot and goldfish and two white mice. by Carl Sandburg     Thanks for reading, Pam x
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