PAGAN FISHING poem by Walt McLaughlin

Pagan fishing means worshipping the stream, chasing

the cloulds, becoming the trout. The tear shed at sunrise

is worth more as it tracks down the cheek than all the

golden idols in the world. The puma licks its chops and

you know how it feels. When you drink water as it

melts and drips from a frozen waterfall in early spring.

you are on the verge of enlightenment. When you are so

deep in the forest that the word “lost” loses its meaning,

you are as close to God as you’ll ever be. When you cut

the line with your teeth to save the fish, you are no mere

angler — the taste of four-pound test is in your mouth,

too. These are mysteries only to those living against

nature — the deer know all there is to know about

heaven. When the river speaks, listen or be damned.

The cracked rod doesn’t lie about the size of the day’s catch.

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