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Poet As Fisherman

 I fish for words
to say what I fish for,
half-catch sometimes.
I have caught little pan fish flashing sunlight (yellow perch, crappies, blue-gills), lighthearted reeled them in, filed them on stringers on the shore.
A nice mess, we called them, and ate with our fingers, laughing.
Once, dreaming of fish in far-off waters, I hooked a two-foot carp in Michigan, on nylon line so fine a fellow-fisher shook his head: "He'll break it, sure; he'll roll on it and get away.
" A quarter-hour it took to bring him in; back-and-forth toward my net, syllable by syllable I let him have his way till he lay flopping on the grass— beside no other, himself enough in size: he fed the three of us (each differently) new strategies of hook, leader, line, and rod.
Working well, I am a deep-water man, a "Daredevil" silver wobbler my lure for lake trout in midsummer.
Oh, I have tried the moon, thermometers— the bait and time and place all by the rule— fishing for the masterpiece, the imperial muskellunge in Minnesota, the peerless pike in Canada.
I have propped a well-thumbed book against the butt of my favorite rod and fished from my heart.
Yet, for my labors, all I have to show are tactics, lore— so little I know of that pea-sized brain I am casting for, to think it could swim with the phantom-words that lure me to this shore.

Poem by James A Emanuel
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