The anglers like the idea of something big down there. Something massive and hulking and alien that you wouldn't predict from the smooth surface of the pond. They like the fish, they've named him.
When he dies, they will talk of their great affection for him. The kind of affection that causes them to send hooks into the water in the hope one will catch in the soft parts of his mouth. The kind of affection that will present the fish with a choice between abduction or a tear through his face. How long do you think a carp has to wait before its ripped mouth heals? Do you think the carp is hungry in that time?
I am talking about love. You know what I mean.
The anglers imagine the feeling of the carp in their arms, its curved gasping, the way the green of the water sweats from it. Its palapable and impressive weight, its living mass. This imagining makes up the majority of their time together. Sitting in silence on the bank like monks in prayer, waiting on the annunciation of some fishy Christ, some obese ICTHUS that proclaims the mystery and the depth.
When the fish dies (Age does it. Men wouldn't dare. 'We always let him back'.) the newspaper will be sure to let you know that the fish was foreign, that carp are suspiciously oriental. They are labouring under a missaprehension about the nature of deity. All gods come from somewhere far further, far closer. Journalism courses no longer expect you to have read Blake. They do not know that divinity does not end, only dies in cycles, always returns at Easter, always is reborn at the solstice. That crowds can be fed on less of a fish than you might suppose. And the fishermen know the god has always been the dark mud, the world without language. It has always been the blood, the difference, the life that needs no air. Fishermen know that each fish is only a messenger, only a fragment, only one line in hymn that we are straining to hear. The twitching mouth. The heaving body. Love.