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.