Bob Schroeder had submitted this poem to Hyco Lake Magazine way back in 2012. Recently he brought this to our attention with a little note and a few updated pictures:
Our father passed away when my brother was 15 and I was 9 years old. I have a few memories of our dad, but the most vivid was of him teaching us how to bass fish from his old green row boat.
Fast forward 64 years. My wife and I now have our own place on Hyco Lake. I now spend many hours fishing with our sons and teaching our grandchildren the joy of the sport.
I wish I could take credit for the poem “The Heron”, as it hits so close to home.
I took the picture of this Heron who makes a daily visit to our shore line, bringing pleasant memories with him.
With us in the old rowboat,
the lake misting itself into day behind him,
our father taught us how to play a fish;
with wide soft hands over ours,
he’d let them run, and wait,
then set the hook. We’ve tried to remember his hands,
to hold for that moment
as the line plays out,
when our hearts empty themselves
into our wrists:
they twitch, held off like two stunned grasshoppers
then, remove the slack,
tear the pole upwards
while cranking the handle and moving the lure
back through the water,
sometimes setting the hook deep
but mostly missing. We fish together still, new boat,
the voice and the hands still with us
strong as ever,
strong as the magnet of the water
where a bass sucks and spits at the bait
with its white tongue.
In the hush after a missed fish
knowing our mistake, we say outload
that what he taught us by his silence.
We wonder where the patience came from. Last night, for the first time out of dreams,
I saw the old keeper of our lake
in the glide of the Great Blue Heron
low over the duck weed, through the forest
in grace with the years
that no man knows in living.
Something of my father
went through those trees,
the two together who waited for fish.
To see him again I would trail a line off the boat
and sit on the water a good long time.
My father passed away when my brother was15 and I was just 9 years old. I have a few memories of our dad, but the most vivid was of him teaching us how to bass fish from his old green row boat.
Fast forward 58 years. My wife and I now own a place on Hyco Lake. I now spend many days fishing with our two sons and teaching our grandson the joy of the sport.
I wish I could take credit for the poem, “The Heron.” This poem hits so close to home.
I was able to take a picture of a Heron which is hung just above the poem at our lake place. The picture, the poem and the daily visit from “The Heron” are a pleasant reminder of long ago memories. Sincerely,