by David Graham
Esox Lucius lurks in murky waters depths
Where, motionless, he sits and waits for prey to come to him
Then, with sudden burst of speed,
He thrusts his powerful body forth
And snares the luckless dace or frog or hapless baby bird
Lucius has lived for many years among the river reeds
And many times a shiny lure has cavitated past his hiding place
But Lucius is a cunning beast, whose instincts – born in ancient times –
Alert him to a danger in that spinning golden disc –
That lacks the natural movement of a fish
Lucius always heeds his time-honed instinct
And lets the man made decoy pass him by
Upon that river bank a man is wrapped in silent apprehension
Anxious that on this cold-clamped day, that Lucius will take his tempting bait
This man has known of Lucius from of old
And kept his presence guarded in his time-locked heart
For he must be the one to snare the ancient beast
If he does not, the prize may fall to one –
Who has not endure the travails of the hunt.
Concealed beneath the river’s sombre mien
Lucius spies a paddling duckling moving overhead
He flicks his powerful tail and surges forth
His massive body scythes apart the river’s flowing skin
And for a fleeting heartbeat Lucius leaves his aqueous realm
To hang suspended in his adversary’s eye
The tortured man draws in a shocking breath
For he has never looked upon his quarry’s glistening form
Spellbound time hangs in his fevered eye
When Lucius arcs the lowering sky and snares his prey,
Then plunges back into his water-shrouded lair
The river’s surface stills and taunts this man with doubts of what he saw
Might it not have been a cruel play, wrought by his troubled mind?
Has not his desperate quest not conjure up his prize?
Does Lucius really bide, beneath this river’s cloak?
Or has this man deceived himself with his own lies?
But doubts do no prevail for long upon this man
Shunning pain of frozen limbs and hungers nagging pangs
He hems again his mind with images of vanquishing his foe
And from within his troubled soul
He fires afresh his all-consuming dream
Of being the victor of his timeless battle
Fought from off that bank.