Webcam on the River Styx
(for Linda and Renate)
Maritime dawn spots mirrored sunlight on a silent, moving river.
The black-and-white perpetual motion of an English Setter
flashes along the banks while I, the anonymous eye,
watch a woman in waders, carrying fly rod, mount an open boat
slowly poled by a She Charon across the Miramichi
to an Atlantic land and release of salmon. There,
on the bar, water washing stone of any deceit, they cast
the filaments of their lives in softly whistling “S’s.”
Again and again they place the ring of their offerings
perfectly before the eyes of their beholders.
Downstream, seven goslings in perfect line, paddle
behind their goose, the gander keeping them close
until they reach shore and choice grass then scatter
like children under the eye of watchful parents.
Do they not know a more eponymous I, an Ozymandias below
lurks, smirk dangled beneath the cold surface of the iris.
Smoky Quartz, 2020
Spey Rod at Sunset
The lowering sun’s blinding white—
a jagged flare of flash bouncing
off the meandering blue of Miramichi
framed by autumn greens and reds—
a conflagration of living color.
A woman wades mid-river,
a glow about her.
She grips the rod, rolls its line
into an arc and snaps it forward,
a thin whip of white fire
and a schweet at the snap
as it breaks the limit of sound.
I do not mind this peace, this distance stretched
to its extremities, and if salmon
lying in deep pools choose
to ignore or decline the fly,
why quibble like a fool?
Let them leap instead.
The fly, the fisher, the salmon, kindred—
kindred with water, with blue, with white—
all catch and release, all green to this world:
a balanced scale our time seldom provides.
Photo by author, Linda and Molly at Falls Brook Falls New Brunswick
Rodger Martin’s For All The Tea in Zhōngguó, 2019, follows The Battlefield Guide, and the selection of The Blue Moon Series by Small Press Review as a bi-monthly picks of the year. He’s received an Appalachia award for poetry, and NHSCA’s award for fiction, and was a finalist for The Stanley Kunitz Medal in 2023. His work has been translated and published in China. He’s a recipient of numerous fellowships. He was Managing Editor of The Worcester Review for twenty-seven years. His latest manuscript, The Sleeping Dogs of Lubec, was a finalist for the 2024 Granite State Poetry Prize.
James M. Fisher is the Editor Emeritus of The Miramichi Reader. He began TMR in 2015, realizing that there was a genuine need for more book reviews of Canadian literature. It has since become Canada’s best-regarded source for the finest in new literary releases. James has been interviewed about TMR on CBC Radio and other media sites. He works as a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Technologist and lives in Miramichi, New Brunswick with his wife Diane, their tabby cat Eddie, and Buster the Red Merle Border Collie.