Saturday, March 10, 2012
Grout Fishing In America
Painting by Michael Haskins
Grout Fishing in America
I love the blaze of Autumn
as my beloved Maple leaves
give up their tender lives
for the privilege of changing color,
letting loose their sturdy grip
of thick gnarled branches,
on their maiden flight
and their last, too soon dropped
to ground, covering my verdant back yard
in a brittle Fall quilt.
But on these chilly mornings,
oh how I adore rising before cock’s crow,
heavily laden with creel, spinners,
hand-tied flies, and my red fiber glass pole;
pushing my old Dodge pick up,
swirling the last of summer’s dust,
hopping madly between washboard kisses
on that steep twisting road
to Palmer Lake, in order to sneak off
to the isolated south end,
where I will brave the prick of devil’s club,
the sting of nettles,
and the whiff of skunk cabbage,
because that is the best spot
to catch the wily grout.
I know that most serious anglers
won’t bother with the grout,
but hell, I’ve been catching them,
carefully skinning them, slicing off
their razor sharp and barbed fins,
flaying that deep purple meat,
dusting it lightly in flour,
frying them up crisp in bacon grease,
since my cuffs were rolled to my knees.
I grew up spit poor and hungry,
and one of the most valuable lessons
I received led to the wisdom
that hunger can be served
by consuming critters most revile;
rats, squirrels, coons, moles, weasels,
snakes, pigeons, and possums.
Grout will run up to several pounds,
and will bite on bright flies, or worms,
or even juicy fruit wrappers,
or raw hamburger, or salmon eggs.
They don’t fight. It’s like reeling in stones.
I doubt they comprehend their plight,
looking prehistoric with that third eye,
split double tail and spiny fins;
but I am here to tell you
you ain’t truly lived
until you’ve eaten one.
If you are curious enough,
just give me a jingle.
I got a dozen of them
in my freezer.
Listed as #6 over at dVerse Poets-Poetics 1999
Would you like to hear the author recite this poem to you?