Leave Nothing But Footsteps, Take Nothing But Memories

Leave Nothing But Footsteps, Take Nothing But Memories

Fighting words and fish

For our next poetry challenge (see “Grab your words and fight back” from back in November), we’ve picked up on one of the peak’s most abiding recreational pursuits, offering you two different perspectives on the noble art of fishing……

precarious pastimes in Monsal Dale

The aim of these “challenges” is to give you something to think about and invite you to send in your responses: as poems, as prose, as pictures….as a few words scribbled over a cup oft ea or a considered composition that kept you up half the night…..And “responses”? You may agree with the poems presented – or disagree – or think it’s all rubbish and we should just build motorways – or be deeply indifferent to the appeal of thigh-length waders and lots of cold water.

1. Enjoy thy streame, O harmless fish;

And when an angler, for his dish,

Through a gluttony’s vile sin,

Attempts, a wretch, to pull thee out,

God give thee strength, O gentel trout,

To pull the raskall in!

John Wolcot, 1801

2. Oh my beloved nymph! Fair Dove;

Princess of rivers, how I love

Upon thy flowery banks to lie;

And view thy silver stream,

When gilded by a summer’s beam,

And in it all thy wanton fry

Playing at liberty,

And with my angle upon them

The all of treachery

I ever learnt, industriously to try.

Charles Cotton, 1630-1687

 

Comments

  •  

    Gordon MacLellan January 2nd, 2011 at 10:15 am

    From Phil Robinson , 30th Dec 2010
    This year, entirely unprompted, my Daisy (9yrs) asked me to take her fishing. I haven’t fished since my teens – many moons ago, but we got some stuff out of the cellar and some new stuff for her, and we went. It wasn’t the catching (and releasing) of fish that was the dominant attraction (honest, although Daisy caught heaps more than me), for Daisy and me it was spending time together in the sunshine by the lake’s bank.

    Bet she doesn’t want to go fishing at the moment though! Brrrrr!

    (transferred from Facebook)

  •  

    Gordon MacLellan January 2nd, 2011 at 10:16 am

    From Sara Fletcher, 31st Dec 2010
    I’ve never tried fishing (apart from chasing things in rock-pools as a child – and again as a zoology student), but I’m always intrigued to see wild fish in their natural habitat: they seem to inhabit a secret, silent world which overlaps only partly with our own. I like the poems – the first one reminded me of Charles Causley’s poem, ‘I saw a jolly hunter…’

    (transferred from Facebook)

  •  

    Gordon MacLellan January 2nd, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Playing with fishy acrostics:

    Freedom moving
    In the river flow
    Sliding from one moment to the next,
    Hoping

    After too much of
    Nothing in cities
    Grasping the chance of
    Living
    In only this
    Now and then being
    Gone, while the fish still run

  •  

    Paul Walker January 17th, 2011 at 9:27 am

    The Fisherman and the Vegan
    (for Charles Causley)

    I saw a jolly fisherman
    with boots and rod and line
    walking to the riverbank
    for the day was fine.

    Though he’d seen the research
    that said that fish feel pain
    the machomotor in him said,
    ‘It goes with the terrain’.

    So readily he cast away
    but the line it went askance,
    the hook came swift behind him
    and caught him by the pants.

    Full tweedily he then did fall
    into the maelstrom bubbling
    where lurked hungry piranhas
    that knew he had it coming.

    The moral of this scaly tale -
    if fishing is your forte -
    is take care just where you sling your hook,
    watch your back,
    and don’t wear tweeds on Sunday.

 

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