Stanza three

This stanza marks a switch from observational to reflective mode. The short opening sentence He displaced more than water introduces the idea of the poet being metaphorically displaced He shoggled me/Centuries back in time.

This creature, a throwback to prehistoric times, creates in the imagination of the poet a glimpse of the early evolutionary stage of the emergence of land creatures from our common ancestors, marine life.

Immediately his tone becomes self-deprecatory with the use of the colloquial verb shoggled to describe how he is shifted; then he describes himself as a decadent townee.

The use of decadent in this context suggests that, in his decision to remove himself from the natural world to an urban setting, he has lost a sense of purpose in his life and become too immersed in the pursuit of hedonistic pleasures.

The next line, which depicts how the speaker was shook on a wrong branch of the family tree conveys how he is both literally and metaphorically shaken by this experience. He is reminded that this shark too is part of our own family tree and is inextricably linked to us in much the same way as any other ancestor.

The expression wrong branch is slightly ambiguous and could be interpreted in two ways. Firstly because of our inherent sense of intellectual superiority over this creature we are unwilling to recognise we are in any way related. Secondly, it is in fact humans who have gone wrong in their evolutionary path - it is humankind, not the shark who is the aberration, the monster.