Fishing For Memories

For Poets United Poetry Pantry #153

Russ Crawford going fishing at Left Foot Lake

Fishing For Memories

Sometimes think I remember too much.
Sixty years plus is a mountain of memories,
each one a small stone, or huge boulder.
Getting older makes it worse.

Sometimes curse the flow
on those days when I want to look back
and can’t seem to catch anything
but shadows slipping through doors
closed tight with locked latches.

What I remember most fondly is going fishing
with my father. Cool morning mist dissipating
slowly, like soft sensuous dream disintegrating
at awakening. Silence that wasn’t really silent:
water lapping, birds chanting morning prayers,
fish jumping for flying insects then dropping back
to gently plop, leaving only an echo of ringed ripples at surface.

Threading hook with live crawlers
caught the night before with bare fingers
at edge of  flashlight beam
(had to be quick or they’d slip back into darkness).

Letting the line down until it hit bottom
then reeling it up a bit so bait
would move with current, look enticing to perch
feeding in weeds.

Smell of dad’s cigarette drifting through air
not many words shared, some quiet teasing
about who would catch first one,
the biggest, the most.

Long ride back from Sturgeon Bay or some other direction.
Didn’t make much difference, I was willing to go wherever he led me.
He didn’t make demands that I be a certain way,
dress in a certain fashion
not be quite so passionate about things.

Coming home with a pail full of perch,
silently watching him clean them, helping
where I could, taking my turn at scraping, cutting and gutting.

Hardest part might have been moving back into that world of others,
mother and siblings, having to share him again.

Elizabeth Crawford  6/10/13

About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here:
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10 Responses to Fishing For Memories

  1. This stirs up so many memories I have of fishing with my dad. Wonderful poem!


  2. Mary says:

    Elizabeth, we might have crossed paths fishing. LOL. I used to go with my dad and my uncle to fish somewhere near Green Bay. I don’t think it was as far as Sturgeon Bay. (Have no recollection just where. Wish I did now.) My dad had one of those engines to attach to the back of a boat. Somewhere they found a boat to rent, I guess. We’d get up early and sit in that little boat for hours. Catching perch as well. Those were the good old days. Oh, I also remember the search for night crawlers the night before. In our yard. I don’t recollect anyone ever bought bait. We found enough worms. My dad cleaned the perch. I did not watch. My mother cooked them. I can still smell them now…when I try. Thanks for tweaking my memory, Elizabeth.


  3. These are wonderful memories, Elizabeth. Mine revolve around Dad teaching me all about his carpentry trade.Inheriting his tools I still feel his presence in the smells and sounds of his old table saw. I am totally enthralled by this work, Thank you.


  4. Sherry Marr says:

    This is very sweet and poignant – and so lovely. I can see and hear and feel that fishing trip, right along with you……….such an innocent time, when all the world was pretty fine just the way it was…….lovely write, Elizabeth! Truly.


  5. vandana says:

    sad and sweet……but sometimes i get very scary as what will happen when I will be old..


  6. Misky says:

    This touched me so deeply, Elizabeth. I am well into the healing process of my father’s death, but there are moments when it all pours back into me like it happened yesterday. This is what I find difficult about growing older; the death of friends and loved ones who pass on before it’s our time to follow. The relationship between a father and a daughter is quite special.


  7. So vivid…what a gift, Elizabeth!


  8. Nice voice in this: /mountains of 60-year-old memories/ I like the metaphors, nice device using the fish.


  9. julespaige says:

    This is a lovely memory. I’m not sure if I ever did have my father’s full attention at any one time. One of my fondest memories though was when he told stories and only my sister and I were listening… truth wasn’t on the table all that much. So much was hidden that he just wouldn’t or couldn’t share…at least with me.


  10. annell4 says:

    It seems the first post I read of your’s was about your Father and about fishing. Loved it!


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