Mad Anglers Manifesto
Mike Delp is the former Director of the Creative Writing Program at the Interlochen Arts Academy. He is the author of several collections of prose and poetry and is also the co-editor of the “Made in Michigan” book series from Wayne State University Press. His most recent book, AS IF WE WERE PREY, is a collection of short stories available from WSU Press.
Recently, he contacted me and expressed interest in seeing some of his work shared with the True North Trout audience. For the next few weeks, as we approach the opening of Trout Season, I will share some of his work with you. Feel free to check him out on Facebook.
The Mad Anglerʼs Manifesto
I speak with the voice of water,
rivulet, brook stream and creek,
for whitewater in lost gorges
boiling cataracts, every place
where the souls of wild ﬁsh gather
to remind us of the power of hydrology.
I speak with the name of rain,
with the soft lips of condensation,
even the dew which gathers each night,
every drop another transition from sky to earth.
I invoke the masses of insects to take over the world,
to begin the hatching and mating, sure in the fact
that tomorrow another dam will fail, another levee crumble,
another river where you live will tire of its banks
and seek retribution on your lawn,
running up your driveway and into your basement.
I praise the ﬂash ﬂood,
the artesian well, the ﬂowing hearts
under our feet,
the webs of underground rivers
coursing through solid rock.
I ﬁsh in incantations, genuﬂections,
my body a living marker for the crest gauge,
tidal ﬂuctuation, ﬂood tides and fresh water seiches.
When my eye falls on rivers I praise their transparency,
their nature of shaping their way as the move.
Water is my heart churning in a white hydraulic,
my tongue longing for a quiet pool, the skin of night
settling in, mayﬂies on the edge of moonlight
sifting out of the trees.
I praise the lust for emergences,
the urge to quit the job, convert the pension funds
to river frontage,
the sudden impulse to carry a ﬂy rod into a meeting,
the ﬂy ripping the lips of your superiors.
I embrace the chant of waterfalls,
the litany of holy rivers: Battenkill, Firehole, Bighorn.
I trust only the sweet smell of rotting cedar,
the scent of mudbanks festering with nymphs,
the rivers rising in my blood like an illness, a fever sent by
the god of desire to make his presence known, something jolting
through the veins to replace the done deal, the raise
with a corner ofﬁce, the soul trader
you most likely have become.