There is a constant truth in these waters.
Their direction and existence
an age-old story told
whether one or many or none listens.
It’s a story of quiet witness and powerful protest.
A record of the messy but perfect balance
of sustenance and survival.

In big water we are lost. Humbled
and reminded of our frailties. Our
fleeting existence. Our will
difficult to impose, though we still try.
But in small water we see ourselves.
And therein lies the truth.
We find ourselves where we find these

rivers and streams. Nestled
in the canyon belly or mountainside draw,
spilling from pool to bouldered pool.
Shadowed, cold and framed
by banks of heavy-green rhododendron
or tangled alder. Meandering in wide arcs
through the prairie’s yawning miles. Arteries

running with defiant purpose,
reflecting the noise and hard angles of the city.
We pack light when we go. Leave
contingencies in the garage, barn or basement.
Leave our will and need to impose.
Leave the things we carry
that we hide from others.

Live closer to the bone. Maybe
it’s because we know what works. Maybe
it’s because we understand
just how much will be forgiven
and everything beyond that is
unnecessary weight. Here we know
we’ll be given just enough.


Filed under Poetry

14 responses to “IN PRAISE OF SMALL WATER

  1. I concur. Beautiful poem, Matt.

  2. Nicely done, Matt. We are all, each of us, small streams in our own right, if we’re lucky. Living “closer to the bone” works for me.

    Thanks for a delightful read.

    • fishingpoet

      Thanks, Mike. I think we’re all in the current anyhow. And if we’re lucky – we’re fly fishing while we’re at it.

  3. All I can say is “Amen, Brother.”

    Very nice…thanks.

  4. Matt,
    Love this style, and the photo you used here, really well done. I wish I had an ounce of your poetic talent, Props good Sir.

    • fishingpoet

      Thanks Ben! I’ve had that shot in my to-use-someday folder for over a year now. Grant has a great eye.

      …and I’ve read your poetry and prose, my friend – I think you’re doing better than fine. But thank you for the kind words “)

  5. That was phenomenal. Very well phrased and structured. I love seeing new stuff on here Matt. Cheers.

  6. Matt, you write with a profound heart. It is those who are on the razors edge of understanding…who can put into words what the few cannot…who truly relish. To be defined by something so secretive. So shy as a mountain stream. It takes a paper and pen for some of us to even share so much of a hint to how we feel. There is treasure in the deepest runs. Outstanding reflection of the soul.

    • fishingpoet

      Thank you for the kind words, Rusty. It is amazing that words can, every now and then, actually evoke an the images they do.

      I appreciate you stopping by!

  7. Janet

    Hi Matt –
    This poem is really beautiful. I am currently working on a short film about fly fishing that explores aesthetics as well as the deep personal connection many feel to the sport. I was wondering if I could use parts of this poem as part of a voice over? The film is not for profit or distribution. I am currently taking a class on Adventure Writing in the Digital Age and our assignment is to have an adventure and to use digital media tools (voice, pictures, music, whatever) to tell the story. The video would be posted on a public website and shown at a screening. I would obviously give credit to you and direct people to the blog. Let me know what you think, perhaps email would be a better way of communicating.
    Thanks for your beautiful work!

    • fishingpoet

      That would be fantastic! Definitely give me a shout via email – matt @ fishingpoet dot com. I’m working in a film too, interestingly enough… Check out
      Talk soon and thanks again!

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