Sunday, May 26, 2013

Casting For A Myth

American Flag, St. Andrew's Church
Collumpton, Devon, England
—Photo by Katy Brown

—Katy Brown, Davis

If I close my eyes I can see my brother
patiently casting
—the fragile line—
see the fly land on the water—

slide down the riffles
toward the shadowed pool
below where I sit.
A large lichen-covered boulder

rises on the inside curve
of Cherry Creek—several hundred yards
above the old bridge.  It is warm under me.
Clumps of elephant ears and snake grass

grow in the sandy gravel upstream.
Water-skippers glide
on the smooth surface
just below where I perch.

He always cuts me a large green pixie-hat,
washes it in the cold stream,
puts it, dripping, on my head
to keep the sun off.

I smell the scent of mountain water,
the granite rock beneath me,
the pines and alders that grow along the bank.
My brother believes a monster brown trout

lives in the deep pool under the shadow
of this rock.  He tries showing me:
but I can’t see it.  Putting me,
fidgeting, on this rock,

guarantees that any fish
will dive for cover.
I finally understand:
it isn’t a fish that he’s after. . . .

—Medusa, with thanks to Katy Brown, who writes: Robert and I went into a lot of little parish churches and more than our share of cathedrals in England.  In almost every one, there was a section devoted to the war dead.  Lots of regimental flags (long turned to tatters)—lots of British flags in various states of decay.  Then in the little church where Coleridge's father was the minister—in Cullompton, off in a little corner chapel—one of the women who was changing flowers pointed out the American flag.  She said that in Cullompton, they were especially grateful to "our boys" because there was a big airfield nearby and they flew so many missions out of there, but so few of them came back.  I was touched by the presence of this "alien" flag in such a place of honor. 

—Photo by Katy Brown
[Click once to enlarge]