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Leland Waldrip

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Ode to Northern Pike
by Leland Waldrip

Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Rated "G" by the Author.
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Thanks to Ron Hull for passing these pictures along from somewhere in Canada. The northern pike in the picture is 55 lbs, 56inches in length. The pike it has in its grasp is 36 inches long. The big one was never hooked. It refused to turn loose of its prize and eventually found itself in the boat of the tired but happy fisherman.


Greenish mesh of camouflaged skin,
Light on dark, esox lucius race,
Invisibility to prey built in,
Cocked torpedo in liquid space.

Cover blend ‘neath silvered ceiling,
Hides voracious predator waiting,
Spring-loaded S-shape, unfeeling,
Lightning fast ambush gestating.

Eyes that move in all directions
Allow tracking in slow motion,
Hovering — slow corrections — 
As prey wanders by on excursion.

Wide muzzle, double jointed hinge,
Tongue, small back angled spikes,
Jaw, heavily needled at fringe,
Efficient for lightning strikes.

Trigger preference will be sizable,
Prey too small is energy waste.
A third her length is realizable,
And all between, acquired taste.

Speaking of culinary taste,
Esox lucius is highly classified.
Excise bony strip as waste,
Batter fillets for treat, deep-fried.

And when there’s too much left,
Corn, potatoes in white sauce,
Spice chowder with light heft,
Pike’s the best I’ve run across.

Fishing for pike is lots of fun,
They aren’t a finicky fish,
They’ll grab a lure and run,
Striped spoons a favorite dish.

 “Hammer handles” — small pike —
Released, will grow up strong.
Large ones, tapered rocket-like,
Hook her — line sings a song.

Then she may slow and sulk,
Let you lead her boat-side,
But don’t put net to her bulk,
As she rolls her eyes alongside,

Don’t quickly heave her aboard,
If you value tackle and gear,
For she’ll be very ill-humored,
And blast it to yesteryear.

It’s best to just play along,
Lead her in figure eights,
‘Til she dives headlong,
Big flap — she accelerates.

And now the real fight starts,
Your resolve will be tested,
Hoping no frayed knot parts,
‘Til finally she relents, bested.

Old, in chowder she’d be savory,
f one likes the taste of dioxins,
Or the oily texture of mercury.
(Keep two-footers, avoid toxins.)

Ensure she’s breathing well,
After her exhausting war.
Swish her back and forth a spell —
This deserving gladiator.

She’ll slowly turn and swim away,
To rest and strength regain,
Ready to fight another day —
To pull like a runaway train.

© 2008 R. Leland


Rappahannock Books

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Reviewed by Andre Bendavi ben-YEHU 2/2/2008

Outstanding composition. "Ode to Northern Pike" is a masterpiece.

Thank You for sharing Your jewels.

In admiration,

Andre Emmanuel Bendavi ben-YEHU
Reviewed by Tom Hyland 1/30/2008


Reviewed by Tinka Boukes 1/30/2008
What a vivid imagery....thank you for sharing....about time to visit the blue waters soon again....i miss catching fish!!

Love Tinka
Reviewed by Karen Vanderlaan 1/29/2008
great visuals i recieved your book today and look forward to reading--will send mine along aasap-thanks again
Reviewed by Ronald Hull 1/29/2008
You've done the Northern justice. Where I come from there is one greater. At 14, with my new spin rod and a Dare Devil, I caught a 31 ' 7.5 pound Muskie.... hooked me on fishing.

Reviewed by Andy Turner (Reader) 1/29/2008
Well put together.
I caught a man eating pike once, it was by mistake, I caught a little perch, and the pike ate the perch on my line, then the pike broke the line. Never did get my hook back....
Reviewed by C. J. Stevens 1/29/2008
You have written an eloquent and dramatic poem about a fish. That is a miracle that few poets could accomplish!
Reviewed by La Belle Rouge Poetess Of The Heart 1/29/2008
Some incredible images here Leland, well done.
Reviewed by Dale Clark 1/29/2008
I do enjoy fishing, never had a chance to fish
for Northern Pike yet, but I want to. :)
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 1/29/2008

Delightful fish tail ... errr, tale. :) LOL Enjoyed - not a whopper! My favorite, Lake Erie Perch MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

(((HUGS))) and love, Karla.
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