Treasure Island

Robert Lowell

(1917 - 1977 / Boston / United States)

The Drunken Fisherman


Wallowing in this bloody sty,
I cast for fish that pleased my eye
(Truly Jehovah's bow suspends
No pots of gold to weight its ends);
Only the blood-mouthed rainbow trout
Rose to my bait. They flopped about
My canvas creel until the moth
Corrupted its unstable cloth.

A calendar to tell the day;
A handkerchief to wave away
The gnats; a couch unstuffed with storm
Pouching a bottle in one arm;
A whiskey bottle full of worms;
And bedroom slacks: are these fit terms
To mete the worm whose molten rage
Boils in the belly of old age?

Once fishing was a rabbit's foot--
O wind blow cold, O wind blow hot,
Let suns stay in or suns step out:
Life danced a jig on the sperm-whale's spout--
The fisher's fluent and obscene
Catches kept his conscience clean.
Children, the raging memory drools
Over the glory of past pools.

Now the hot river, ebbing, hauls
Its bloody waters into holes;
A grain of sand inside my shoe
Mimics the moon that might undo
Man and Creation too; remorse,
Stinking, has puddled up its source;
Here tantrums thrash to a whale's rage.
This is the pot-hole of old age.

Is there no way to cast my hook
Out of this dynamited brook?
The Fisher's sons must cast about
When shallow waters peter out.
I will catch Christ with a greased worm,
And when the Prince of Darkness stalks
My bloodstream to its Stygian term . . .
On water the Man-Fisher walks.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read poems about / on: fishing, rainbow, fish, wind, memory, river, rose, children, moon, water, dance, child, son

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (The Drunken Fisherman by Robert Lowell )

Enter the verification code :

Read all 2 comments »

Top Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. A Dream Within A Dream
    Edgar Allan Poe
  9. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  10. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. trepidation, Laura Milner
  2. Yes September, gajanan mishra
  3. A RAINING AFTER DROUGHT, Chinweokwu Sunlight M. Ndubu ..
  4. Illuminating, Mark Heathcote
  5. Over looking choice, Jessica Dehn
  6. The Wine Effect, I Am Krakatoa
  7. Light Foot xx xxx xx Original 12 28.., Lee Mack
  8. changing the world, Frederick J.B. Moore II
  9. Worrdless Man xx xxx xx Original 12 .., Lee Mack
  10. Not seeing sweet Sweetie is impossible!, Nyota Yasulwe

Poem of the Day

poet Helen Hunt Jackson

The month of carnival of all the year,
When Nature lets the wild earth go its way,
And spend whole seasons on a single day.
The spring-time holds her white and purple dear;
...... Read complete »

   
[Hata Bildir]