This Is a Poem That Heals Fish
"Every once in a while, you stumble upon something so lovely, so unpretentiously beautiful and quietly profound, that you feel like the lungs of your soul have been pumped with a mighty gasp of Alpine air."
This is how Maria Popova describes author, Jean-Pierre Simeon's and illustrator, Oliver Tallec's unspeakably precious book, This Is A Poem That Heals Fish. As a lover of children's books, this one had all the feels. The illustrations are magical and the message speaks to finding poetry in our everyday lives.
Arthur is sure Leon, his fish, is suffering from boredom so he he asks his mother what he should do. She exclaims; "Hurry, give him a poem!"
Arthur searches around the house because he doesn't know what a poem is. He looks in the kitchen cabinet, through cleaning supplies and under the bed. Having no luck, he takes aff for Lolo's bicycle shop. Lolo laughs all the time and is always in love. He must know the answer!
Lolo tells him:
"A poem, Arthur, is when you are in love and have the sky in your mouth."
And similar to a quote from Ursula K. Le Guin:
“Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone; it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.”;
Mrs . Round compares love to bread. She tells Arthur --- she doesn't know much about poetry but she knows one poem -
'It's a lot like hot fresh bread. When you eat it, a little is always left over".
Arthur finally ends up back home to seek the wisdom of his canary, Aristophanes, who chirps:
"A poem is when words beat their wings".
When his grandma comes to visit she thinks with a "silly smile" and describes a poem. -
"When you put your old sweater on backwards or inside out, dear Arthur, you might say that it is new again. A poem turns words around, upside down, and - suddenly! - the world is new."
Grandpa tells him;
"it's what poets make".
As you can imagine, by now Arthur is quite confused as he cannot find the elusive answer to what appears to be killing his fish, Leon, boredom.
Though, along the way, we see the colors and answers that make up everyday life are touchingly beautiful.
"I’m sorry, Leon, I have not found a poem. All I know is this:
A poem is when you have the sky in your mouth. It is hot like fresh bread, when you eat it, a little is always left over.
A poem is when you hear the heartbeat of a stone, when words beat their wings. It is a song sung in a cage.
A poem is words turned upside down and suddenly! the world is new."
After Arthur's explanation of a poem, Leon speaks for the first time -— "Then I am a poet, Arthur".
"And my poem is my silence."