A Rime for the Modern Angler

by Tom Bajoras

Remember when we fished for rhymes?
Into the sea we cast our lines:
You with your modern gear,
and I with tackle not so nearly
gleaming ultra cool like yours;
a stick and yarn it was, no more.

Words are blind and stupid, biting
at whatever shines. They seldom fight
beyond the point of being sifted
with flour and salt. They are lifted
from plate to mouth, and so
in one big gulp, down they go.

We sat four hours by the bay
on that cold and dreary Saturday
before your nylon line grew taut.
My clumsy yarn had already caught
ten times more than we could carry—
enough to fill a dictionary.

Suddenly your rod was an angry curve!
This was no ordinary noun or verb.
We guessed from the strength of those jaws
it must be at least a subordinate clause.
If you could reel it in, I thought with delight
what a feast we would have tonight.

But then the line went slack to indicate
the sly creature had escaped.
Oh well, I sighed, it’s typical. I guess
sometimes you have to settle for second best.
Besides, once the meal is on the dish,
it’s the taste that matters, not the size of the fish.