More Laity Poetry

Another poem begun in Julia Kasdorf’s workshop at Laity Lodge. She gave us a fragment of a Psalm and asked us to write a poem from it. Mine was, “He catches the helpless and drags them off in his net.” 

Estes Park, Colorado


Dad plans all day for what will be a one-hour trip.

Tieing flies.

Gathering vest, hat, waders, net.

Packing snacks and water.

We drive all our gear across the street to fish

this Wild and Scenic River.

“Where’s your pole?” he asks me.

I grin and hold up a bamboo pole

(5 bucks at the gas station).

He frowns. “I’ll go help your mother.”

Mom loves fly fishing.

It is the only time she is quiet.

Dad arranges everything just so, the way she likes it.

The air is cool, but not the midday sun.

Mosquitoes are everywhere.

Me and my cheap pole can’t fish worth a damn.

I stand in the freezing river and laugh.

Mom watches the water. Dad watches Mom.

She casts her line by feel.

With the tumor deep in her eye, the world looks sepia.

Still she is the first to spy

the Colorado greenback cutthroat trout

darting through the ripples, over the stones

right to Dad. He sets the hook. Keeps the tension.

Uses the net the way God intended.

“Hurry! Get the camera!” Dad yells.

I drop my feeble pole and run to the bank,

paw through the assortment of Orvis bags, but

there’s no camera. Our phones are in the car.

Mom quotes Psalm 10:9 as if her well-marked Bible

were sitting right in front of her:

“He catches the helpless and drags them off in his net.”

“Not today,” Dad says, and returns the trout to its habitat.

He will load up his flies again,

but she will not.

The Good Lord will scoop her up soon

after that tumor connects with all the others,

forming a net.

A couple of years later, Dad will come back to this state.

He will catch a helpless trout, drag it over to the bank

so someone else can take a picture.

And he will let it go.


  1. Being a fly fisherman I understand the beautiful relationships you describe… I always found it more about the relationship of all those present than landing the fish. Lovely poem.

  2. I am so grateful you shared this lovely poem.

    The caring and love in it is exquisite.

  3. My sister told me once, when I realized I’d forgotten my camera at some keepable moment in my daughter’s childhood:

    “Some pictures you just have to save in your mind.”

    Well done the saving, my friend.

  4. Oh Megan. How you pulled all that together with God scooping her up (in His net) after the tumors form a net, and your dad letting go. I’m undone here.

  5. I’ve always wondered how real fishermen feel about letting go. Can’t be easy for them, can it? Does it help to know that they will keep on fishing?

    This was just beautiful, my friend.

  6. Hi Megan =) So wonderful to come by here and visit you again… and I am treated to this beauty.

    How fortunate for me that I know what your voice sounds like. I can so easily imagine you reading this beauty to me. You wrote this so well and I am deeply blessed by the way you wove your words… they too are like a net that captures me. Your family story woven throughout here…. and oh, the comfort we find in doing the familiar to cope with the unfamiliar… reminded me to walk by faith, not sight.

    (and thank you for your encouraging and generous words to me… =)

  7. Well now dear Lassie, that’s so beautiful (the poem, not the fisher person). Me thinks there another smile in Heaven this day.

    By the by – I see a flyfisher walking along the trail in front o’ guys in the masthead pix.

    With all my love and a fair shake of me admiration.

    (p.s. No, it doesn’t hurt the trout, just the fisher. And then – then there’s ‘nother day.)