“Fog Makes the Small River Smaller,” by Gary Metras

Fishing on Letort

Fly fishing the LeTort Spring Run, PA, 2006. Photo by John Bechtel III.

There is nothing quite like greeting the day from the bank of a river still covered in fog. Such a moment becomes essentially magical, when it occurs in a place that remains more the dominion of animals than of man. Massachusetts writer and angler Gary Metras captures this magic in his poem, “Fog Makes the Small River Smaller.” It is included in his collection titled Two Bloods: Fly Fishing Poems, published by Split Oak Press in 2010. I am glad to have been directed toward the book, and I strongly recommend it. While I use the term “magic” to describe the feeling captured in the following poem, it is a sort of magic that arises from the very real, but complex and hardly known physical world around us. If you can relate to this earthy magic, then Mr.Metras’ writings will appeal to you. And know that he has published many texts, besides the one cited here.

Fog makes the small river smaller.
Sunrise has little effect–
Strands of white weave

through the overwhelming gray.
A fly fisher stands in the flow
a few feet from shore.

He dresses his line with
the misty wall surrounding him.
A slight splash upstream. Another.

Deer, not bear. He smiles, thinking:
If the air were clear as the water,
this would be a postcard and a story.

Then he imagines his legs as delicate
as a deer’s testing unseen rocks
for the slip that means

breakage, that means breath of coyote
on the tensed neck hair. All that
for a few sips of the new morning.

Another splash. A twig cracks.
Then, silence except the soft spill of river.
He ties on something dark and woolly,

strips line from the reel, throws it
into the air, into the wall of fog,
a sliver of green line slicing the bloodless gray.

It fall out there, beyond sight,
with hardly a sound.
He strips more line, hauls it back

over his head, pauses without thought,
and casts arm and line and fly
into the unknown.

6 Responses to ““Fog Makes the Small River Smaller,” by Gary Metras”

  1. Amber Says:

    Apt. I just took a fly fishing class. I need to get out on some misty mornings myself.

    Like

  2. Gary Metras Says:

    Thank you for posting my poem and for finding a photo that compliments!

    Like

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