I just thought it would be nice to present some fly fishing poetry from a real poet here on Casting Around, so I asked Cameron Scott if I could “reprint” one of his poems. He was kind enough to say yes. Cameron is a fly fisher, guide and poet based out of the Roaring Fork Valley in Colorado (lucky guy!). Find out more about him and check out more of Cam’s poems at his website.
Lamentations for the Complete Angler
by Cameron Scott
Cast your fly always up river,
and lift your rod at the first hint of a strike,
that you may more easily catch fish.
Do not let your fly sink. I say unto you,
learn to mend so that your fly remains buoyant.
Hold thyself still like a heron on small creeks; hold still, I say.
Give unto each mayfly and each caddis equal attention.
How remarkable they appear, both from above and below;
learn the ways of invention and imitation,
calling attention to these bodies of hackle and dubbing.
Weigh the kitchen table evenly with food and fly-tying equipment,
so that you may eat dinner and tie flies at the same time.
If you cannot catch fish, break not your fly rod across your leg in fury.
Neither drink of the river water, nor eat of the cress which grows
in the water, nor put lead flies in your mouth, nor eat mud.
Leave the wild turkeys alone, for what has the turkey done,
that you should go chasing them across a field of wheat
swishing your fly rod back and forth.
In the breast pocket of your garment, keep your license
and other important documents, so that they will remain
decipherable, that you shall not be fined or thrown in jail.
And hum not the humming in your nose as your friend
tries casting beneath the overhanging branches
of a cottonwood, nor stand nearby, skipping rocks
between one bank and another.
Neither forget what I said about the turkeys.
For if you heed these words, you shall find yourself
in the kingdom of the drag free drift. You shall wander
between sage plains and high mountain peaks
and watch rings of infinity spread in high country lakes.
You shall travel to countries and sleep beside foreign bodies.
You shall be lonely but never alone; you shall read
the writing on the rocks that others have writ before you,
and you shall be content, inseparable from you rod, your water, and your fish.
Used by permission of the Author and first published in Perigee, www.perigee-art.com, Issue 18: November, December, January 2007/2008 Poetry. All rights reserved.