Lines Cast

‘So this is the face of the ocean.’ /

Who could believe the matter at hand,
wisp of cane, blue thread of light,
a golden hook hung with blood
and cast beneath the brimming sea?

Yet I waited on the magic,
at end of the endless pier,
grooved the pole between my toes,
traced words and faces on ocean’s edge,

jabbed at pincered sandworms
groveling blind in boxed seaweed,
numbered the waves lifting brightly,
breaking in the slatted dark below . . .

Line, cane, spine jerked tight.
Nothing to reel, no strength to pull,
I clung until a fish came
flashing into my father’s net.

It was mine—diamond skin
dripping with light, black fins
wildly jagging, the whole body
riven in rhythm of waves;

then suddenly hushed, mouthing
its mute secret, eyes sphered
and unblinking—I was his.
So this is the face of the ocean.

My father took him, pole and all,
and gave me another set, already
triggered to the sea. This time
I held more tightly, clenched

to almost nothing, eyes running up
and down the descending thread,
as the sun pounds, sea birds swoop,
their shrill cries piercing as nails.

See this issue's cover story, which also focuses on fishing with fathers.

John Savoie teaches great books at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville.

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Also in this Issue

Issue 29 / August 20, 2015
  1. Editors’ Note

    Issue 29: Fishing with fathers, what we go out into the wilderness to see, and how Joy began to find Jesus. /

  2. Reeling from Joy in the Texas Bay

    Fishing with my dad lends itself to all kinds of spiritual metaphors and benefits. But that’s not what keeps me casting. /

  3. Call of the Wilderness

    The Desert Fathers saw it as faith’s testing ground. The Transcendentalists saw it as sanctuary. The Gospel writers had their own views. /

  4. The World’s Most Astonished Atheist

    The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki destroyed Joy Davidman’s worldview, too. /

  5. Wonder on the Web

    Issue 29: Links to amazing stuff /

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