Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The Fisherman

The Fisherman

'Interfering old hag',
'troublesome crone',
they couldn't disown you fast enough,
until you were dead,
then all they said was you were theirs,
but you were never theirs,
and left them sitting at the banquet table,
to distribute crumbs to the multitude,
how rude!
didn't you know how to do as you were told?
Bossy, brazen, and old!
I loved you so!

I sat beside the Vardar and watched an old fisherman wade into the water, the fast currents slipped between the sun kissed shoals of soft washed pebbles, weaving their eddying ways amongst the dips and treacherous hollows. He stepped so surely, as if through constancy and practice he felt the flow. Several fishermen looked on at this old man with his rolled up trousers and shabby shirt, none daring the tide, nor slipping there feet from cushioned heels, and comfortable seats. Their baskets were empty, and though they seemed not to care, basking in the late summer sun, the keenness of eye with which they watched this old hand walk upon the waters rush, belied their envy and distrust. He stopped, still, amidst the rushing scream, and seemed in that moment to hover upon the waters, to stand upon them. He turned and cast a grin, slackened his reel, and let loose the line into the sweeping current. A perfect arc, as the rod rose, retrieving all the line that had been released. The trace lay delicately upon the water, in the shadow luff of the stone bridge. No sooner than the fly alighted upon the spot, than the snap of the rods whip sank the barb deep. The fish were biting, and hungry, and hooked. The wizened old man deftly manoeuvred the fish into his basket, pulled in his line, turned in the current, and silently slipped up stream from whence he had come, a large fish tail slapping in his basket. He stepped upon the shore, rolled down his trousers, smiled at the men, who begrudgingly nodded back, hopped upon his old bike, and rode down the old river path, past the young lovers, seated in the shade, and the flatulent old men lining the banks, hoping for a fish with dry feet.

'Interfering old hag',
'troublesome crone',
didn't you know when to leave well enough alone?
I loved you so!... by God, I loved you so!

© Richard Michael Parker 2011

(Original photograph of artwork by Miftar Memeti, 'A tribute to Mother Theresa')

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