Newspaper History presents media sourced from a United States newspaper dating back 108 years.

  • 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.