Sunday, December 11, 2016

HOW TO FISH

As prayers matter only to God,
it’s hard to imagine that poems
matter to anyone but poets. 
People do not much line up at bookstores
when poets come to town; None are declared
Person of the Year by Time magazine
or named Sexiest Man Alive by People.
And, for better or worse, there seem to be few poetic stalkers.

I know there are podcasts by poets
but I’ve never heard them discussed in line at Starbucks.
“Only poets buy books of poetry,” complain booksellers.
But perhaps this is like complaining that
only fishermen buy fishing rods.
Fly fishing is poetry – cadence, soft touch, patience.
Some poets like to fish - so some fly fishermen
Must like to write poetry, knee deep in Maine streams.

Fading sunset, the splash
Of the rainbow trout that just missed his last cast sends
Ripples of sunlight rolling across the stream,
So that in the early dusk, he is a rendered a sharp silhouette
against the red ember sky.

He fishes out a pencil and small notebook, notes
The new born babe he saw by the highway
With angels hovering and ominous storm clouds
in the far mountains. The old woman and young girl
fighting at the bus stop. The alcoholic bartender.

But not least he writes
Of the flash of that trout of just moments before,
It’s fight for life,
Its stark contrast to a world
that has forgotten how to fish.


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