I cast the line, let my hook dip
to settle above stirred sand
until mud flurries still. Sharp in green depths
it waits, watches ripples break on stone,
reaches when a hint of fish gleams.
The bait is snatched; float bobs, and I
reel in a glittering wedge
that spins and dances, writhes and flaps.
I catch it, cold and slithering,
ease the hook, feel it thrashing.
Its silver glistens early summer days
of paddling in the stream, of reed and rush
and willow catkins. Chill and splash
made small legs shiver; grass scent
tickled nostrils; frog percussion throbbed.
And there were picnics,
tomato sandwiches and lemonade,
races through dandelion and clover;
then home for tea, warm baths and tales
of prince and witch and once-upon-a-time.
The small fish flickers. I throw it back,
watch as its movements synchronise
with water's rhythm. I cast another line,
trawl for another flash of silver, gather
fresh harvest from memory's drenched stores.
January slouches in shadows,
shrugs into his trenchcoat, pulls down his hat,
He spits contempt -
sleet that rattles on your windows,
rain battering the porch.
Ragged on park bench and pavement
he coughs a fog
of 'flu, hawks pneumonia.
When he sleeps
the moon ices night, frosts
grimly scraps of newspaper gusted in corners.
He's a stayer:
slugs it out to the last day,
grips February's coat tails, holds fast.
His grumbling still echoes
when March shakes out winter's sheets.
you just know he'll be back.