Angler at the Bank

(with apologies to Ernest Thayer, and poetry in general)


The sun was shining brilliantly out on the creek that day

in late September, summer swoons, and trout season turning late

Tall grasses hid the angler as he came up to the stream

knelt among the mint and cowslip, and the bending bluestem seed


Out ahead at thirty feet he saw a rise there in the bend

a swarthy chug of water as the trout took a meal suspended

And with no luck on mayfly bugs, or foam ants there from his pack

he pulled a fat orange hopper pattern that was resting on his hat


He tied it slowly to his line, no urgency in his pace

for he knows assuredly that the hungry trout can wait

And with no lack of confidence he brought his forearm back

then snapped the whole rod forward to launch into the cast


Now the foam-made hopper came hurtling through the air

and the angler watched the leader curl out ahead him there

Just then it came, from the west, sound like a dull lion’s roar

a gust of wind tossed the hopper into the green of the far shore


Defiance gleamed in the angler’s eye, a sneer curled at his lip

for he knew he couldn’t save the fly without spooking the fish

So with a terrible snapping sound, he forced the line to break

and lost the stranded hopper somewhere on the grassy bank


“No matter,” said the angler, and reached into his pack

and produced another hopper looking just the same as did the last

He tied it to the leader with the same confidence as the first

and sent it with a practiced cast he had long rehearsed


The fly line curled out in front of him, as perfect as could be

placed between the greedy grasses that narrowed off the stream

But before the hopper had a chance to find its mark

the laughing wind came up again and buried it beside a rock


The angler’s face grew cold and stern, caught up in the awe

of having two near-perfect casts suddenly go so wrong

And with no little bit of spite he tore into his fly box

to find his third and final hopper and tie it to his rod


The sneer now gone on his lips, his teeth now clenched in hate

the angler’s patience being tested as he waits for wind to abate

A third perfect cast is done now, the hopper lands on its prize

and the angler curses loudly as the brown trout comes to rise


Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright

a band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light

And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout

but there is no joy there on the stream– for the angler tied a bad knot


Author: chesleyfan

I work, I fish, I write.

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