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Catching the Limit
Mark Thalman


I troll along the south shore,
where other fishermen say
the angling is no good: too shallow,
too many weeds.†With their fish finders,
they cluster off Princess Creek,
but I donít see them catching anything.

The lake lies flat mirroring sky.
An osprey rides the currents,
until he spies a trout,
folds his wings and drops
like a swift mountain stream
falling over the edge of a cliff,
plunging talons first
into his own reflection†.†.†.

Emerging in a fury of spray,
wings widespread, using them as oars,
the bird strokes against the surface,
flapping steadily to reach the air again,
nosing his wriggling prey into the wind.

I point the bow at the spot
where the osprey caught the rainbow.
More times than not, that is the place
my pole starts to bend.†

 From Catching the Limit (Bedbug Press-Fairweather Books (2009).
This poem has appeared in Spectrum, Anthology of Magazine Verse & Yearbook of American Poetry (Monitor Book Company), Here We Speak: An Anthology of Oregon Poetry (Oregon State University Press), and Deer Drink the Moon: Poems of Oregon (Ooligan Press, Portland State University).
Used here with the author's permission.

Mark Thalman lives in Forest Grove, Oregon, where he has taught 7th grade English for almost thirty years.  His poetry has been widely published in small presses, college reviews, anthologies, and e-zines for the last three decades. His book, Catching the Limit, was published by Bedbug Press - Fairweather Books as part of their Northwest Poetry Series. Mark has served as a Poet-in-the-Schools for the Oregon Arts Commission, Assistant Poetry Editor for the Northwest Review, and board member of the Portland Poetry Festival. He is also an artist who enjoys painting wildlife scenes with acrylics. His two Golden Retrievers, pictured above, are named Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes. To learn more about Mark, visit To purchase Catching the Limit, click on the book cover and contact Mark via his email address.



Post New Comment:
My dad once took us fishing with cane poles in the lakes in MI. Very different scene; it would be wonderful to fish in Thalman's waters in Oregon, too. Thanks so much for this wonderful poetry service; the variety is amazing and so many strike a chord for me.
Posted 07/31/2010 04:17 PM
plunging talons first into his own reflection . . . GREAT line!
Posted 07/31/2010 11:43 AM

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