(I wrote this poem for Martin McGuiness on the occasion of his 50th birthday)
The cold eye of the fisherman
rests upon the quiet sleepy waters
as he stands silently dreaming of ‘the big one’
the ‘one’ he knows will make him great
among the fishing men
who also stand silently dreaming.
Each dream carefully cast across calming waters
where unsuspecting trout (who have no dream)
take only each breath for granted.
Reflections are all they need fear!
Anticipation, excitement, stir his blood,
even his toes tingle as they press rhythmically
inside the extra-large water-boots
that he wears over warm sweaty feet;
their protection from the deep
as he reels in his line – slowly, steadily, cautiously,
his heart fluttering as it did when love was new
remembering moments as lovers do
of shadows cast that only dreams could catch,
disappearing as morning broke, leaving an intimacy
of words unsaid
along with honest sweat on a grassy bed with women
that he barely knew,
beyond the fire that passion bled
knowing more than years could hold in a two score
if truth were told.
Jolted back to reality by the sound of birds fighting
in a nearby tree.
In awe of the determination of this wriggling trout
that momentary blocks his logic out
from this solicitous scene that he is director of,
and with a satisfaction the observer can
to free his catch becomes an urgent must.
Then giving back to the watered world, a life it bore
a richer man he becomes this day;
no praise (from others) nor words that convey how great,
a fisherman he is,
for the man who knows how to cast and to catch,
to throw out and pull in, how and when,
‘A fisher among men’.