Kurt Carman May 1985
A Rise on Neversink
NOTE: It's important for the reader to know that Theodore Gordon was an American writer who fished the Catskill region of New York State in the late 19th century through the early 20th century. Though he never published a book, Gordon is often called the "father of the American school of dry fly fishing. The poem " A Rise on Neversink" is about a boy and his Grandfather fishing on this famous river called Neversink. The spirit of Gordon, who now lives through nature, encourages and speaks to the boy through wind and water.
A RISE ON NEVERSINK
We head upstream past fallen Hemlocks,
Crawling recumbent through advancing grass.
Wetness prevails from the night before,
And seeing us, the Groundhog shakes his head in disbelief.
Sun perched on Doubletop Mountain,
Shown the rising Brown sip his prey.
I wait, another rise boils the riffle.
My eyes question when, Grandpa gives the nod.
The shooting line breaks the winds path,
Invisible leader curls resisting gravity.
The Skater finds its mark, spinning without authority,
Setting a course through the waters force.
Emerald moss, dripping wet jewels,
Deepens the blue-green pool,
Theodore Gordon's reflection shown now,
He smiles, the breeze whispers "tight lines".
Scrambling from my knees I find
the Brown makes his approach, only to show his back.
My heart pounds and only my gut tightens.
Disappointment whelms over, an encouraging nudge prods from behind.
Gordon's voice once again calls,
Performed by the spruce needles murmur,
Patience s s s s s s
My hands begin to steady, premise clear.
Double hauling as if my life depended.
As beautiful an object of lavish nature produces,
From underneath the Brown assaults, Skater devoured, groping,
Grasped with bent snout, outmaneuvering his prey.
Tippet strained, reel whining fervent praise,
Moving for swift water, he surfaces briefly
Seeking the currents leverage.
He educates his pupil with the magical ploy.
A broken fly rod hangs down in contempt, against the tender Payne rod.
The evening hatch finds sanctuary,
And only the Catskills angling legend lingers in the air.
This lesson complete, the boy dreams.
And Theodore awaits the mourning encore.