Fish On A Stick

It’s getting to be the time of year when I don’t bring a rod, just some little flies and some tippet, when I walk in to the high streams up from the Gallatin. Since I can’t cast to these pools, I just tie a fly to
the tippet and dangle it down through the deadfall on a stiff willow branch. It’s enough to watch the brookies coalesce from beneath the logs and undercut and take the fly, so sometimes I snip the hook off at the bend.

These places always make me think of this Yeats poem:

The Song of Wandering Aengus

I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire aflame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And some one called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.


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