The Fisherman

Updated version.

The sun rising behind the tree-lined riverside

shapes feathery shadows animated in rippling water.

He casts a hopeful float near the opposite bank

testing his patience for the last time today.


Willowy wisps of vapour from warming water

signal it’s time to withdraw the unfulfilled bait.

Discarded soggy larvae provide a hazard free snack

while he removes a hook tied to invisible filament

from the line. The ritual of packing up begins


with unhurried concentration. He winds in line

removing slimy debris as he tensions the reels.

Luminescent floats carefully detached are laid aside

on the grass. He separates the rods into sections

sliding them cleanly into waterproofed scabbards.


Plastic trays laid out in military order at his feet

each segment shape carefully chosen to hold

tiny pieces of lethal metal arranged in order

of weight. Small coffins to protect the paint of

beloved floats. Hooks are replaced in cellophane

baggies, sorted according to sizes and strengths.

After a meticulous clean and dry, he collapses the

net, which kept only empty water on this occasion.


Bagged and boxed bait is stuffed into the left pannier.

Treasured equipment carefully placed in the right.

He straps his rods tightly to the cross bar and wheels

his bicycle along the tow path, through a mist carpet

past endewed bushes listening  to waking Robin’s

and Willow Warbler’s beautiful territorial warnings.

And a fisherman’s escape from life is over for today.

© guajiros 2020
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critique and comments welcome.

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Excellent poem, guajiros, that any angler will enjoy reading. Paints a complete picture of this noble art. I’ve purchased the permit and started fishing here again this year, and I’ve been following Mortimer & Whitehouse fishing/humour series on the BBC, so your poem feels very relevant and topical. On that programme, they repeated that Samuel Johnson idiom: “Fishing is a worm at one end and a fool at the other!” or words to that effect. Lots of good canal fishing near you I would surmise? Enjoyable read.
Best, Goth


While I haven’t fished since a young girl and have not the appreciation of it as some others, this poem shows a very visual representation of the act and leaves the reader almost feeling they’d been there and done that. I liked the beautiful alliteration within this piece and really am appreciative of the lovely picture you painted here.


an ex-UKA member who came back under the same name for a short while on WABD and then again on UKA under the same name. Am I boring or what?

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