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Fishing Report
Mark Thalman


Every spring, after the shell of ice cracks
the lake is reborn: kokanee, mackinaw,
and rainbow hunger for whatever they can find.

By mid-summer, the fish that havenít been caught
are too smart or have become apathetic.

Come September, itís time to hang up the poles.
The big ones are down deep
and only trout leap at sunset.

If you visit the general store,
they display photos of anglers
holding up huge salmon
and smiling like lottery winners.

Fishing is not about the fish.
Itís not even about how lucky
or unlucky you are. Itís about
letting out the line
without expectations,
telling good stories,
enjoying the company,
and reeling in the moment.

This poem first appeared in Windfall.
Used here with permission.

Mark Thalman has been widely published for five decades and is the author of three poetry collections: Stronger Than the Current, The Peasant Dance, and Catching the Limit. Retired after teaching English in public schools for 35 years, he is also an artist who enjoys painting wildlife and seascapes with acrylics. Mark lives in Forest Grove, Oregon; learn more about him

Post New Comment:
I love this poem and that last stanza, Fishing is about reeling in the moment. Wow!
Posted 03/29/2023 09:29 PM
Lori Levy:
Especially like the final stanza.
Posted 03/29/2023 07:12 PM
My grandfather always said, "It's not about catching fish, it's about catching your breath". He had amazing luck when fishing, and I think that was due in large part to his relaxed approach to ithe really did see it as "Me Time" and having fresh fish for dinner was a bonus.
Posted 03/29/2023 11:58 AM
Mark has so expressively described the sentiments about fishing that I've always heard from those who fish a lot.
Posted 03/29/2023 11:05 AM
Have you heard the song of the line on the drag?
Posted 03/29/2023 09:40 AM
michael escoubas:
Keep reelin' Mark, nicely done; all I've ever caught are very large memories!
Posted 03/29/2023 09:25 AM
Larry Schug:
I think the last stanza is a poem on its own. The metaphor is powerful.
Posted 03/29/2023 07:43 AM

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