At the top of the tide the float pauses, rising and falling

on river ripples, bobs slowly in the swell, goes under.

The angler isn’t fooled, knows the ways of water and fish.

He waits, the low sun like flame on the surface.

At last the float begins its moon walk to the sea,

upright and nodding, a stately process, until interrupted

by a sudden plunge into the green darkness.

He waits, waits, then whips the rod a foot or two—

just enough: a barb imbeds in the soft flesh

of the luderick’s gasping mouth. The cane rod

bends back on itself, the line taut, the fish frantic with life,

with death waiting in a net that scoops it drowning

into air. Into the cool evening the moon rises,

the tide floats down to the sea. The angler leaves the river,

walks in darkness towards home, seen by all except

the campers in their van who haven’t switched on their lights.

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