The Muse

(An International Journal of Poetry)

ISSN 2249 –2178


Volume-2                                                       JUNE -2012                                                    Number-1




by Milton P. Ehrlich





The frame of an ancient Chinese silk scroll

melts seamlessly into the shadows of the Whiteface mountains.

The canvas, a gauzy day of menacing clouds.


The central figure, a fisherman, stands, alone in his boat,

holding a weathered bamboo pole. Trees painted in single

decisive strokes of the calligrapher’s ink brush echo his stoic stillness.


Somewhere, out of frame, a wife waits, stoking a fire for her husband’s catch.




Suddenly, the man moves.


Impervious to pelting rain, wearing Orvis’ stay-dry duds,

he twitches his rod and with a flick of the wrist he casts,

arcing a line in fine loops over his head, puncturing the water

at the edge of iridescent orange-yellow water lilies.


He tempts a hungry rainbow trout who lunges toward

a gossamer-thin tippet.

In a splattering shower the fish strikes, shaking its head

to get off the barbed hook which pierces tender white flesh

around the gills.

The tail flails in a spasm of pain, the fish tires as it surges

and runs, leaping, almost walking across the water on its tail.




Holding his prey for a moment, he gauges the length, viewing

the meaty flanks, the outrageous spots of black and orange

and horizontal streaks of silver and red.

Pleased with how the holographic foil on his translucent lure

has dazzled the fish, releasing it to swim away

and spawn once more, he rows back to shore.