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Ruth Taaffe: a poem

Fishing with Ted Hughes

That process of raid, or persuasion, or ambush, or dogged hunting, or surrender, is the kind of thinking we have to learn and if we do not somehow learn it, then our minds lie in us like the fish in the pond of a man who cannot fish.

Ted Hughes

We wade upstream to meet the fishbone hills.

Below us, the flat river smooths waxy

across the white and shingle shore,

the clarity of stones pebbling by mills.

Down there, ideas like star bright salmon kink

their thrust, twist, land flat

on the water spout and minnows hinting

glimmer, flick and plummet at the brink.

But here the mute pool plunges deep,

and a single ripple murmurs under its breath

like the heavy door to creation creaking

or the handshake where two seasons meet.

We stand in foot clumps on the muddied bank,

the pond full of long-gone lines of thought.

An eel might bite and knot itself, the wet coil

of a snake on trial, get swagged back.

We could witness the notion of a trout

hauled up on amber spray, my fingernail

lifting rainbows in a tiny scale. When at last,

from the clouded mind, the ancient pike grins out.

Ruth Taaffe is from Manchester, UK, and lives in Singapore, where she teaches English. She has completed a Masters degree in Creative Writing with Lancaster University. Some of her poems have been published in The Poetry Village, Acumen and Poetry Birmingham.


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