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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Response to Billy Collins about fishing

Today's challenge at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads was posted by a lovely toad named Lola Mouse, who introduced the deceptively simple poems former US poet laureate Billy Collins writes about everyday life, with a twist.
Collins wants students of poetry to "take a poem and hold it up to the light" but finds, instead, "all they want to do is tie the poem to a chair with rope and torture a confession out of it"!
Public Domain photo, Rainbow Trout
In tutoring myself about Billy Collins today, I found a poem I, as a daughter of the late outdoor writer Gordon Davies, could relate to. Take a look at the link, then read my response, below.

To Mr. Collins
Sir:

If I ever get to the Susquehanna
I might fish there,
Public Domain photo, Rainbow Trout
as fishing is in my blood.
It was a pleasure
shared with me by my father
and my mother:
Standing knee deep in water
and tossing a
worm-ended line.
For minutes or hours there
under the sun
in a broad-brimmed hat.
Hoping to feel the tug on the line
that meant a trout had seen
and met my worm.
With no tug on the line
and no trout with the tug
then I’d just spent an afternoon
drowning worms
with my father
and my mother,
as we did, years before they died.

Also posted for Camera Critters,
hosted by Misty Dawn. Thanks, Misty!

13 comments:

Sherry Blue Sky said...

This poem reminds me of when my son was ten or twelve and I'd let him skip school so we could bike out to Mission Creek and he could fish.......you took me back, and I loved it.

Helen said...

Heartwarming, sweet, funny ... all rolled into one nice poem.

Grace said...

I like the sense of humor here Kay in remembering that fishing in the afternoon ~ That poem of BC is just so sharp, especially the ending line ~ Very well done in meeting the challenge ~

Fireblossom said...

"Worms?" she asked, horrified. "And hooks???" *faints dead away*

Other Mary said...

Awww - what a warm and funny memory. We talked of drowning worms in my family too.

Hannah said...

Kay!!! This birthed a beauty...you caught a trout of a rainbow golden poem here!!

I love this:

"With no tug on the line
and no trout with the tug
then I’d just spent an afternoon
drowning worms
with my father
and my mother,
as we did, years before they died."

This type of poetry is very like you...your tone and humor!! Enjoyed this. :)

sharplittlepencil.com said...

Kay, the line about simply drowning worms, like you did with your folks, has the bite of irony for which Collins was famous.

As I've warned others, if you do fish the Susquehanna (I grew up on its banks), DO NOT EAT IT. Catch and release, knowing your gave the fish a decent worm in return for its trauma! Amy

Kay said...

Wonderful, Kay! I've got a number of fishermen (and women) family members who could really relate to this poem.

Lolamouse said...

Kay,
B.C. 's poem about the Susquehanna is one of my favorites so far. Your response was wonderful! You painted a clear picture of a time you remember fondly. Makes me (almost) wish to put worms on hooks with you!

Thanks for participating in the challenge!

Marian said...

yeah, drowning worms. after they've been stabbed clear through anyway. i spent some time doing that in my yout' too. love this, Kay, love your voice, truly.

Kerry O'Connor said...

You took us to a place in memory and shared a day that is long gone.
I love the way you worded this aspect of fishing:

Hoping to feel the tug on the line
that meant a trout had seen
and met my worm.

Susie Clevenger said...

I love how you used your memories of fishing in this piece. I never went fishing with my father. I so wish I had.

Jinksy said...

Drowning worms...great name for fishing!