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.