Behaviour Of Fish In An Egyptian Tea Garden Summary

772 Words4 Pages
Keith Douglas’s poem, “Behaviour of Fish in an Egyptian Tea Garden” is a sensual story of an alluring woman and her power to seduce men, of any age or ‘species’. Douglas creates a rich image of an aquatic, underwater environment throughout the poem which parallels the actions of a woman and men to the animalistic nature of society. The ‘behaviour of fish’ mimic mankind 's values in this piece by eventually portraying the ugliness and superficiality of physical attraction; an attraction only driven by the lust of filthy lucre. Douglas utilizes the elements of imagery and diction to create a vivid depiction of the seductress in the marine environment. The poet also expands on the extended metaphor between man and fish, referring to different ‘species’ of men and their instinctual mannerisms. Lastly, there is change of tone regarding the woman throughout the stanzas to convey the mood of the characters, actions and ideas present; creating an eventual ironic ending to the piece, the eventual loss of attraction.

Initially, Douglas introduces the woman in the poem as sly and seductive, but also dual-natured through the clever use of vivid imagery to depict her alluring characteristics. The poem begins in media res having the woman “A white stone draw[ing] down the fish”. Her physical exquisiteness is described as the colour of stone, white, the colour creates a connotation of purity and untaintedness. Her “hands” are further repeated to be “white as a milky stone” and later on
Open Document