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PLAYLIST | Poetic Inspiration: “An Elegy for the Fishing Man”

POETIC INSPIRATION

by Sararosa

I like to write, and there’s no doubt about my love for music, too. That’s why I write for this blog! Yet, I think music and creative writing come together in more circumstances than just concert reviews and profiles. [Editor’s note: As you can see in Sararosa’s “iPod Abroad” series.]

For me, music is a way to access the characters and moods in the stories and poems I write. Music influences how I write and what comes out of my head onto the page. I often make playlists for certain pieces I write, just like I do for certain life experiences, like my time in Israel.

The poem that follows was influenced by a lot of folkish music with guitar layered like thorny bushes and vocals that remind me of water.

During my time revising, I listened to a lot of Trampled by Turtles, because their lyrics remind me of my favorite poets mashed together–Elizabeth Bishop and Emily Dickinson. It helped me keep the goal for my poem in sight.

Despite the similarity in title to a Billy Joel song, “An Elegy for the Fisherman,” it was–sadly–not influenced by his music. Although, if you the reader think it is, let me know. Like music, poetry can be interpreted in infinite ways.

 

An Elegy for the Fishing Man

Our feet skim over a cup of coffee in a mug

with finger paintings of acidic ink on the sides.

It jolts itself awake and then flies

flapping through the air

finally descending onto the cotton sand

where grains absorb liquid love.

Fleshy, tan and naked, your toes move–

the worms waiting to be strung onto your line.

My flip flops strain under the body of the water–

it seems that everyone here

yearns for the march of the current

the drum beat that resonates beneath the sand.

Your hands that shook at the doctors office this morning,

the ones that handled the envelope

in a jittered attack of fingers and palms–

tie the knots on the line with a quick grace.

They dance an intricate old number from a time

where summer days floated like the flies

cooling themselves on a pitcher of lemonade.

You cast your line and it falls to the water

the hollows where young age

once slept in your hands–

tense up, and that smooth skin falls deeper

and deeper into a wrinkled panic.

Out of the water comes a fish

thrusting itself out for air

breathing a foreign idea for him,

and for you too.

You don’t say anything,

but the fish looks at you

and gasps back–

understanding that neither of you

can afford to be so long on land.

 

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