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Song of the Fisherman

From The Topeka State Journal, March 18, 1915. By E. B. Widger.

There’s a sound that rings in my ears today
    And echoes in vague refrain;
The ripple of water o’er smooth-washed clay
Where the wall-eyed pike and the black bass play,
That makes me yearn in a quiet way
    For the old home haunts again.

    Back to the old home haunts again,
        Back where the clear lake lies,
    Back through the wood where the blackbirds brood,
        Back to my rod and flies.

I wish I could paddle my boat today
    Through water-logged grass and reeds
Where the muskrat swims and the cattails sway
And the air is cool and the mist is gray
And the ripples dance in the same old way
    Under the tangled weeds.

    Back on the old oak log again
        Back by the crystal brook,
    Back to the bait and the silent wait,
        Back to my line and hook.

I wish I could wade by the water’s edge
    Where the falling leaves drift by,
Just to see in the shadow of the ledge
Where dark forms glide like a woodman’s wedge
Through drifted piles of dark marsh sedge,
    And hear the bittern cry.

    Back where the tadpoles shift and shirk,
        Back where bullfrogs sob,
    Back just to float in my leaky boat,
        Back to my dripping bob.

Oh, it’s just like this on each rainy day;
    Always the same old pain
That struggles and pulls in the same old way
To take me off for a little stay
By the water’s edge in the sticky clay,
    To the fish in the falling rain.

    Back to my long, black rubber boots,
        Back to my old patched coat,
    Back to my rod and breath of God,
        Home, and my leaky boat.

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