What writing and fishing have in common

A foreigner in a foreign world
Unable to return for the last farewell
I drink white wine next to Americans 
And contemplate who the man was

An idea 
Comes to me

Bookworms and fishermen are actually quite similar
We spend hours in silence
Looking in front of us
Waiting for something 
To catch

He probably thought me one of those
Gallivanting Europeans
Whose loose morals and liberal ways
Are the ruin of our Empire 
I remember him once
Telling me about Poles in Lincoln
And all I could think of 
Was Walkers’ Crisps

He and I never chatted much
We at family parties 
Always shook hands
Always maintained polite protocol
Always took the measure of the man

But there was none of that
Kind of conversation I am used to

Oh ‘allo he would say
In that Lincolnshire accent
A working man’s drawl
An accent I regret not hearing more of
But one that sounded almost exotic
In our family of Northerners

“Oh ‘allo” was about as far as we would get
And I would leave him where he was
In a chair with the kids 
A beer in hand
And a smile that showed 
How happy he was

Nobody can be that kind
My cousin said
All those years ago
When she brought him home

He glided into the family
Sometimes clumsy always kind
Strong not stubborn
Thoughtful not shy

And now my aunt has
Lost her DIY king and will
Live in the realm
He put together with bits from B&Q
An outside toilet
A set of shelves
Crisp packets behind the radiator
Hooks that have lost their meaning
A row of twenty or more fishing rods
A rustic sword of Damocles
A box of maggots in the fridge
And a full bag of soil
That was meant for the tomato plants

I’m sorry 
He didn’t get 
To plant 
His tomatoes.
I really am.

And now he finds himself
In a poem that paraphrases Horace
Live each day as fully as you can
Put nothing off
Plant your tomatoes catch your fish
Even as you read this
Your time has shrunk a little

Anglers and writers
Heart-broken wanting to help
Know deep down 
The biggest fish
Will always get away

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