Stirrings at the deep end Posted on August 21, 2009

Fish (fly-replete, in depth of June.
Dawdling away their wat’ry noon)
occupy hours of my garden time. Rupert Brooke was good on fish. He must have spent his Grantchester days day-dreaming by the river.
‘In a cool curving world he lies
And ripples with dark ecstacies …..’

We moved two well-grown mirror carp from the duckpond to the much smaller and shallower Red Sea a couple of years ago, hoping that they might be of complementary genders. One hot day last week I was reading in the hammock strung between two birches by the water when I heard a different kind of splash and turned to see what looked like a whirlpool, made up of a hundred tiny carp chasing each other’s tails. I imagine they must just have hatched and were learning to swim in tight formation. No fussing from mama, though – and which of the two sleek fish calmly cruising at the far end of the pool is mama, anyway?

What happens next will be attrition, I fear. Will it be death from the skies when the heron spots them? The Red Sea would be crowded with as many as half a dozen full-grown carp. And will the resident rudd have their fins put out of joint?

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