Baptism and benediction on the Brule

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The trout ran strong and swift, the stream ran cold

and clear, and both ran past a pair of felt-

soled boots.  The angler in the boots stood long

alone and watched the water rushing by.

The hair beneath his hat was graying, but

the hands that held his pole were still as thick and

hard as when they guided softer hands

and smaller boots down muddy banks to take

that first enchanting step on mossy rocks.

He turned and looked at tiny, gleaming drops

of sunlight dancing upstream where the boy

had caught a rainbow on a fly he’d tied

himself.  Around the bend, a little way

beyond where he could see, was where the boy

had caught his first and found his private joy.

He watched the water, waiting, aching to see

the colored pebbles that were not what they

seem rise through swaying shafts of light and hold

near ripples, glitter-capped and quick, until

they tap the surface, take a bite and flash

away.  He watched the Mayflies lift and fall

on gossamer wings that fluttered helplessly

against the breeze until they failed.  The frail

and floating insects, their genetic task

complete, returned the river’s gift.  He looked

across to where the boy and he had sat

to wait for countless suns to sink and call

the trout to rise.  There, in the cool of grass

still soft, still moist, still shaded by the trees,

the words were easy.  Fears had fallen there

and drowned beneath the current.  Dreams were born

and carried high on summer winds.  So sweet

was one, it swept away the dreamer–yet

no sweeter than the one that brought, and kept,

the other here.  The angler bowed his head

toward the stream and, smiling, waded in.

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