At the age of four he saw a salmon
fly from the river Wear on an arcing line.
The giant danced on air, flipping man-high
somersaults above our local green,
while a helpless angler tried to field it.
Get a brick! cried my son, not so much
A mercy killer as an ancestral hunter reborn.
I’d yet to learn that a fisherman loves
Fish, above all creatures, with a passion.
From that day on, it was sticks and twine,
bent pins, any pond, puddle or stream.
Later he left boxed maggots in the fridge
to stop them pupating, and once, eels in a pail
from which they rose like charmed snakes
To squirm across the kitchen floor, and lampreys,
Fastened by awful mouths to the sides of the bath.
As a birthday gift for an art-lover,
he gave me hand-tied flies in a frame.
Even now he’s surely up to his armpits
in waders in a wild river -- the Klickitat or
Umpqua’s ‘raging waters’ -- casting for steelhead.
Whether he’s absent for hours or years,
it’s safe to guess he’s gone fishing.
Linda Saunders lives in the UK, where her poems are widely published, along with three poetry collections, most recently The Watchers from Arrowhead Press. One of her sons, the fisherman, now lives in Oregon.