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Poet As Fisherman Analysis

Author: poem of James A. Emanuel Type: poem Views: 6

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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.


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