Last Hole – a poem

I’m no poet, although I’d love to be. As always, feel free to comment—I can take the heat.

Last Hole

Was this the hole,
where limestone walls shoulder the margin
between earth and sky?

He bends into the current,
casts about forgotten water thickened by rains.
Forgotten waters, patterns, faces—
even the name of this disease.

His fly skitters across the surface,
vees the liquid alluvium,
scatters shadows below birches.
He sets a foot where a memory
was—it slips.

A speckled back breaks the barrier.

Liver-spotted fingers
lift bamboo and line,
flick a loop upstream
settling the fly two feet beyond the rise
on the river’s wrinkles.
Perched upright it rides down,

The water’s skin dimples,
pulls the fly to a place
of fading shadows.

He teeters. Stares at the line
to etch an epitaph
into his memory.
Brings the shadow to hand.

He holds it at arm’s
length. Forgets. Slides
beneath the boundary.

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12 comments for “Last Hole – a poem”

  1. Excellent. And very brave of you. I certainly don’t have the courage to post poetry.
    It has always surprised me that a subject so rich in prose (good and bad) is so depauperate in verse and much of what has been written isn’t very good even though it would seem to be an area which would lend itself to the discipline. Perhaps I just haven’t read widely enough or it may be that I have a much more discriminatory sensibility for something so close and personal.
    Anyway really good stuff – let’s see some more!

    Posted by Eccles | December 12, 2008, 3:03 pm
    • Eccles,

      Thanks! Brave? More like crazy!

      Depauperate? Now that’s a word I haven’t seen for a long time – back in the university days.

      You hit the nail on the head with the depauperate comment though. As you said, considering the abundance of prose over several hundred years, there is a dearth of “good” fly fishing poetry. There are some poems about fishing, a few about fly fishing, but just not a lot of poets that focus on fly fishing. Really weird considering, as you said, “it would seem to be an area which would lend itself to the discipline.” Much of the stuff out there is more doggerel than anything else. Not that mine is all that great, but I try to avoid that sing-song rhyme that so many think of as “poetry,” but most “discriminating” readers of poetry would find to be pure piffle. (Just look through a bunch of the poems other than Engles’ and Motes’ on the below link to see what I mean.)

      Engles’ stuff is pretty good, it takes a bit more thought to read. The following website has quite a few of his poems that probably come from Big Water, a book of his that I do like. http://www.flyanglersonline.com/lighterside/poetscreek/part112.php Unfortunately, John Engels passed away June 13, 2007. I like David Motes’ stuff (also many poems at the above site). He has a website he is trying to get submissions for that also has some of his poetry (and the above poem of mine): http://storyarc.squarespace.com/

      I’m looking forward to Cameron Scott to come out with some fly fishing poems since I like the poems of his I’ve read, and he’s a fly fisherman. He’s from Colorado and has commented here on my site before. Hopefully he’ll swing by and could maybe tell us anything he knows about poetry and fly fishing.

      Posted by Cutthroat Stalker (Scott) | December 12, 2008, 6:20 pm
  2. You are scary, Scott. Your writing talents – tools I wish I had – never cease to amaze me. I have told you how much I enjoy your fascinating fly fishing stories and reports, and the laughs I get from your satire. Now, I add your poetry to my list of favorites found at your outstanding blog. Are there other facets to this precious jewel? If I were you (and I am obviously not), I’d think “book”….a compilation of the old, and a sprinkling of some new stories, humor and poems about our treasured pastime. I want a copy for my library!

    Posted by Bob Granstrom | December 12, 2008, 6:09 pm
    • Granny,

      Too kind! Other facets? Would you consider being able to armpit-fart the Star Spangled Banner a facet? (Okay, I can only squeak out about half a bar of it, but give me time.)

      Book? Uhhhh…well…uh…I don’t know if anything is really publishing quality. And if it was, I’m pretty sure the publishing industry is more “who” you know…etc., etc. And I know absolutely nobody. So, until that time, I’m more than happy to share my stuff gratis and you can put this stuff on your virtual shelf. (I’ll keep looking under rocks and trees though. Maybe Santa will deliver a publisher this year?)

      Take care!

      Posted by Cutthroat Stalker (Scott) | December 12, 2008, 6:34 pm
  3. Scott,

    Enjoyed the poem. Nice. Read it at StoryArc and didn’t know who wrote it. Reads good in white print as well!

    Best of the Season to you and your family.

    Posted by Steve Bird | December 12, 2008, 10:40 pm
  4. Okay HLT, you have been critical of others writing before so I hope you don’t mind me putting yours on the barbeque. I know you are a deep thinker and it shows in your choice of books, music and trout streams…but I also know the “OTHER SIDE” and somehow in reading your prose I kinda get a feeling it is one sided. Impressed yes…satisfied no. I think a more original version of the “Carles Side” is still lingering beneath the birches, circling around the dimples and lighting in
    the shadows. So for now, “A” for effort but “B-” for polished product. I guess we will have to go on a fishing trip to discuss it…but don’t count on anything to magnify the editorial until the wrist rocket comes out and Talking Bull turns the Ranger over to the Poet. I’ll bring the duos by the way.

    Posted by Daniel Line | December 16, 2008, 12:34 pm
    • But you also only see one side. Which side is “the” side? A conglomeration. My next post will actually tie in to this idea of yours. Better than Duos – Hydrox cookies. They have started selling them here locally after these many years. Ask my dad about them next time you see him.

      Posted by Cutthroat Stalker (Scott) | December 16, 2008, 12:55 pm
  5. Yes…the conglomerated side is the side. I understand there is another side…I like the other…just not solo…I like the aggregate…it is the complete “story” if you will. I just want to read a verse of it…but I have already had my Hydrox cookies…was raised on them. Found some at a small convience store across the border in Idaho…and no I didn’t go fishing without you…I was coaching basketball…which to your own admission, you are not allowed to help me with. And since I misuse the ellipsis quite often…I might not be very helpful critiquing
    your poetry…I might have been better off having never said anything negative about the Portneuf.

    Posted by Talking Bull (aka Glenn...aka "the Ellipsisizer") | December 16, 2008, 1:20 pm
  6. I’ve always thought there should be more fly fishing poets. Maybe fly fishers who write poems similar to those of cowboy genre? Too corny for the contemplative angler?

    Still waters run deep.

    Roderick Haig-Brown said that he didn’t know why he fished, except for the fact that it made him think and feel.

    Fly fishing poetry can serve the same purpose.

    Posted by Robert | December 24, 2008, 12:21 am
    • Akin to cowboy poetry – that’s an idea. There are some “quality” cowboy poems kicking around out there too, but again, like with fishing poetry, you do have to sort through a fair amount of chaff to find the wheat. But, with cowboy poetry, as far as I can tell, there is a lot more out there than there is fishing poetry. I think one of my missions in life will be to find as much “good” fishing poetry as I can. I feel some kind of research grant coming on (as soon as the economy comes out of it’s current dive, maybe I can tap into some cash for a project).

      Thanks for stopping in.

      PS, you may remember a month or so ago I mentioned that you made me think of something in one of your comments on the “Braggarts R Us” post and that I would have a post about “the manipulation factor of those who “create.”” Well, I about have that post ready to go online.

      Posted by Cutthroat Stalker (Scott) | December 24, 2008, 7:19 am

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