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.
Well- all things must come to an end, and so I find myself sitting at the computer for the last installment of my Daily Fly Fishing Poem project. It comes a day late due to some technical difficulties (power outtage a while back), but I hope you can forgive me. I think I’ve learned some things a long the way, and I hope I sparked a few imaginations, maybe? Thanks for indulging me. I apologize ahead of time for this last one.
Daily Fly Fishing Poem #30:The Fish
Like I have before a thousand times,
I cast, far off and fine, a fly.
And so a fish, spotted and speckled
with a galaxy of memories, and diamond dust,
turquoise and rubies and rust,
rose from the blackness into the light,
and drifted and , and…
and when I brought him in
he motioned with a fin, as if
to say come closer.
I leaned in, and he whispered,
“You can keep me, fry me when you take me home,
but please don’t make me into a poem.”
Fly Fishing Poem #29: The Weight Of Water
The weight of water
and boxes full of flies,
mended and reaching casts
that drag fish from the stream,
empty containers waiting to be
imbued with meaning
spots, halos, vermilion throats,
vermiculated backs of brook trout
reflections, edges, wings, flutters, scatterings, shatterings,
coyote yelps, lark song. Frozen August mornings.
A double dose today – so if I do two tomorrow I’ll finish on track.
Daily Fly Fishing Poem #28: Bear?
A fly box, and then another
came floating by, bobbing, dipping,
caught in an eddy spinning
Daily Fly Fishing Poem #27: Fish or Pilgrim?
A final surge and
the fish slips through to our side,
the portal ripples and closes behind him.
Kneeling I hold him in my hand,
and in that moment I understand this;
The white and orange fins,
the red and blue spots,
are prayers to God
written on brightly colored flags,
and offered at the foot of the mountain,
at the axis of the world,
where the four rivers flow
in the four directions.
I’ve written it down this time,
so I don’t forget again.
Daily Fishing Poem #26: BWO’s
Like the lost feathers of angel wings,
fluttering up and back to the sky,
or like the tiny larvae of rain clouds-
the olives emerge.
Fall Stream by Anthony Naples
Daily Fly Fishing Poem #25: Everything Has Its Season
Born in late winter and populated with
fingers of trees still naked and grasping for the dull tin pie plate
that passes for the sun in that cold country, the season begins.
It begins with fly boxes fattened with
speculation, cabin fever and hope,
books with folded corners,
maps torn with folding and re-folding,
the click of a reel in the basement.
And then somehow the season ends
with a last trip, a last fish.
And with fly boxes thin and gaunt and
in need of filling.