To continue the fishy theme, a quadrille for the dverse prompt.


a large small family to feed
and an ocean of fish


we would buy orphie with green bones
rouget grondin with its duck-beaked snout
and limande
flat fish round as a serving dish
generous enough for all


those days are gone.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

58 thoughts on “Fishmarket”

  1. I like how you’ve used ‘dab’ the fish, here. I always found it a strange name. If you have to feed your family and fish is plentiful, that’s not such a bad thing. I would have to learn to cook it first!

    1. There were mountains of cheap fish in the 1990s and varieties I’d never heard of never mind seen. Sadly overfishing has passed by and there is far less choice and all expensive. We very rarely eat fish these days.

  2. So many things have changed. I took this as not only the fish, but also the markets and not so many people gathered together during recent pandemic times. I like how you use dab here.

    1. When we lived in Paris the fishmarkets were enormous and there were fish I’d never seen before, cheap and plentiful. When we moved to Bordeaux nine years later, where fish should have been cheap and plentiful the markets had none of the strange fish we used to eat. The fishmongers said they never got them any more. It’s sad, just for the sake of overfishing. We never eat fish now. The markets only seem to have the most expensive varieties and not much of them either.

    1. Yes, I agree. In those days we saw the huge quantities and how cheap the weird and wonderful ones were, so we bought tons of fish. Now you just see the restaurant fish that we can’t afford. The rich will no doubt still be able to find their dose.

      1. Exactly. I was shocked by the prices in some fish restaurants in Paris a few years back. 100 EUR and such. Unaffordable and ridiculous. Then we found some great Greek places where we both ate lamb for 15 EUR. Suddenly we didn’t feel like eating fish any more.

      2. The fish stands seem to be divided into two sections now, the choice pieces like bar dorade lotte rouget merlu tuna that cost a fortune, and the baskets full of pilchards, fish heads and assorted non-entities that the poor folk buy. I have no idea what you’d have to pay in a restaurant.

      3. Even the little dorade are expensive now and tuna you only see at the up-market places. I must say though that it’s always labeled as line caught not the awful drag net captured fish that are massacred en masse. If it’s cheap, it’s usually cruel. I don’t know what the policy is in Germany. Each country has its own trade deals.

      4. I always buy fish at a Turkish store. Twice a week they have a new delivery and it’s always fresh and tasty. By contrast, the fish at open markets in Munich is ridiculously pricey. But they have money, I figure, so they are easily tricked, besides being traditionally untrustworthy. So let them waste money. It’s theirs.

      5. I’d have thought anywhere away from the sea had expensive fish. The Turks though use a lot of fish in their cuisine, so they must have their own system for getting supplies in.

  3. I love the touch of the exotic in this tiny novella. I like fish that are tasteless, like shark and halibut. I choked on a fish bone as a kid, turning me against most seafood; just a tuna guy now.

  4. Very interesting poem luv the tinge of history and hard times

    Did some research and came upbwith this
    (The common dab is an edible flatfish of the family Pleuronectidae. It is a demersal fish native to shallow seas around Northern Europe,)

    Happy Monday


  5. Fine piece Jane – how short those line breaks between the last lines – ‘…generous enough for all // then // those days are gone. ‘ How brief the journey between abundance and scarcity.

  6. It’s sad that those days of traditional markets are gone. I remember attending the Cannes film festival, wandering the harbour and marvelling at the fish market and restaurants. But I prefer to see fish in the sea, swimming and multiplying. I do love the image of the ‘dab / flat fish round as a serving dish / generous enough for all’.

    1. The markets are still there but the stands have far less to sell and the varieties are limited to the expensive prized fish not the strange varieties we used to buy. I saw orphie once (just two specimens) on a stand in the Bordeaux market and the fishmonger said he just had them for decoration. He didn’t expect anyone to buy them or even know what they were.

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