gary busha | gone fishing with…

3 12 2007


Poetry Dispatch No.166 | May 5, 2007

Gone Fishing with poet Gary Busha

This is Opening Day of fishing season in Wisconsin. North, south, east, west…the waters are filled with men and women, determined to make the connection, bring home the lunker to justify their time and skill upon the water, while contemplating (mostly in silence) all the age-old mysteries of what lies in wait beneath the floating world.

Wisconsin has a long history of skilled fisher-poets, ready to land one keeper of a fish (or poem) in one perfect cast.

Gary Busha is among the best them. Here are two catches from his most recent book, LINES ON LAKE WINNEBAGO (March River Edition), 2002. Norbert Blei


Portrait of Dock Fishing

Old men with big yellow bellies
remember themselves as lean river boys
fishing together from the docks.

Cane poles reach out like quills
in black water inkwells,
nuts used for sinkers,
bent pins for hooks.
Wooden bobbers
drift in ripples
while bullheads stir to the dance,
the sensuous tangle of worms.


Thoughts on Fishing

While mouthing words
that ricochet from plate
to plate, I do not think
of the working of my pancreas,
although I should.

A russet sunset remains
and lingers with the smell of seaweed,
fresh, broken.

I’ve not accomplished much,
but have made the best of a dull night,
and now it’s morning and the mist
is rising as I row with hardly a thought
but fishing.


gary busha | a celebration for whitman

4 11 2007


Poetry Dispatch No.134 | December 5, 2006

A Celebration for Whitman by Gary Busha

I celebrate fat-bellied pike
and schools of minnows in cool water,
and the wolf on the run, I celebrate,
and the hunter and the hunted.
I celebrate fresh cut lumber and the smell of sawdust
and the touch against skin
and the scrape of beech bark, I celebrate.
An unknown voice
and the thump in the dark, I celebrate,
and I celebrate butter-fried fish
and scent of mustard,
and wet wood in autumn.
I celebrate people with beating hearts,
who keep time in rockers on wood porches.
I celebrate water falling endlessly
on rock and the taste
of field onions left drying on lines,
and the words I celebrate,
and the grass and sea and sky.
Myself I celebrate and you, Walt Whitman,
for changing and being the same.

from LINES ON LAKE WINNEBAGO, Marsh River Editions, 2002, $8