Published Apr 13. 2022 - 2 years ago
Updated or edited Apr 13. 2022

The Water’s Violin

A poem about fly-fishing inspired by Bela Bartok





Jed Feffer

Poem by Jed Feffer
Greensboro, Vermont
April, 2021

The Water’s Violin

The grass is unmowed and swaying;
The currents of the river are clouded in bugs.
In hand you begin with a vision of upraised hands and heart;
You have yet to slip over smooth rocks,
or cast on cast onto water.

Your fly rod is the quick motion of a fiddle;
Back and forth back and forth
fly line swings across the sky,
and your eye is on the dimple
of a trout making rings in the water.

Each movement of your body swaying
is the upturned song of the violin.
If you could only stay that way
poised above a feeding trout in churning water.

The world beneath the water keeps you fishing.
It tightens around your thighs.
Bugs flick at your eyes;
The sun lights the gravel.
Walking the stream always has hazards.
Holes for your feet to fall in;
Strong currents that want to upend you.

You blend in trying to present the fly
as if it descended unimpeded
onto the water’s surface.

And though the water’s violin keeps bowing
You must leave now;
Your rod slung over your shoulder;
The sun coloring the shadows of the trees.
The water's violin
A painting based on a photo of the author fishing
Karl Eric Leitzel based on a photo by Jed Jeffer

Painting by Karl Eric Leitzel based on a photo by the author.


The Water’s Violin...

Great job on comparing fly casting to the bowing of a violin. You are referring to a slow movement of one of the Hungarian, or Romanian folk dances??
Yes, casting horizontally might meet the bowing motion. Your poem is wonderful, it describes a day on a stream very well. Casting a fly can be poetry in motion; it is a peaceful thought provoking activity.
It is nice to have the thought interrupted by a hungry fish. Then we go back to the unfinished poem. Your photographic and poetic abilities are a special gift, please continue to pursue them. You chose wisely to select Karl Eric Leitzel’s watercolor painting to accompany your poem.
Thank you very much for sharing with us.

The Water’s Violin...

Thank you Kate. I am not sure what part of Bartok’s violin piece inspired me. Thank you for your comments. They are helpful and encouraging. If you get a chance read Simon’s Daughter. It is the 2021 Robert Traver Fly- Fishing Writing Award Story in the Spring 2022, The American Fly Fisher, which is the Journal of the American Museum of Fly Fishing. If you can’t find a copy of the journal I can send it as an attachment to you if you send me your e-mail. Mine is Thanks again Kate. By the way Karl Eric Leitzel created the photos, not me. Cheers, Jed


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