Spring riots in the blood like wine;
For work who would be wishing?
So gaily out with rod and line,
And let us all go fishing!
Pale, punctual clerks of office stream,
They work all day; they do not seem
To live a life exciting.
But in the poet's endless dream
The fish are always biting.
He baits his hook with memories,
And wafted by a rhythmic breeze
He drifts on Life's smooth river,
Proud when upon his hook he sees
A shining stanza quiver.
About his line quaint fancies play;
Dreams nibble all his bait away --
His hook has nothing on it;
But sometimes at the end of day
He lands a silver sonnet
And though sometimes he catches bream
He drops them back into the stream,
For lovelier things he's wishing.
If on his hook there hangs a dream
He's had a good day's fishing.
I wonder what fine fish he bought
With what his golden dream-fish brought?
Surely there were none sweeter
Than those he in his stanzas caught
Or netted in his metre?
Yet though his fish with joy are placed
Upon our table, sweet to taste,
In these stern days one wishes
No grown man all his hours should waste
Just catching pretty fishes!
First published in The Bulletin, 12 October 1916