— inspired by Ted Hughes’ poetry collection River

God’s final judgment on humanity’s terrible desecration of Holy Earth will be to call home brook trout, his loveliest of creatures, as punishment.
                           — Rob Reid 

Fish hits,
living, split-cane stick lifts to set hook.

Line tightens,
audible as a tuned guitar string.

Bamboo rod bends in sweetly singing arc,
shivering crazily, a rattlesnake roused from slumber.

Electric vibration,
sliver of reflected, refracted light, fleeting and evanescent —

Frozen in the Now.

Hearts race in syncopation,
fish torpedoes, conspiring with current.

Shout of ‘fish on’ interrupts hallowed eventide silence,
announcing the primitive battle anew.

Fish and angler connect,
a tenuous thread woven into the fabric of life —

Until victory is declared.

Elation or dumb regret disproportionate to size of fish,
savage beauty beyond description or translation.

Ferocious on the lip of presumed death,
no longer than my index finger.

Wild speck answering mad mystic poet Willie Blake:
eternity in palm of hand in a world where every thing is Holy.

20/01/2016, revised 28/06/2017

(Featured image Autumn, Three Trout by Tom Thomson, in the Art Gallery of Ontario permanent collection)