A drift into the times I began fly fishing in Western Shropshre.
'How camest though to such as this, that one with stout flyfishers wrist, should become a worthless Journalist'
Still Searching For That Cuckoo by M.A.Meddings
There is no other English county quite like Shropshire. A. E. Houseman wrote of it, yet rarely ever visited it. In the early 1960's as a young man I read the poems of Houseman and the short 'country matter' stories of A E Coppard, and visited Shropshire a neighbouring county to my own Worcestershire. In west Shropshire was a trout stream, where the wild trout went 2 to the pound mostly, with the odd leash going on 40 ounces.
The river was a prodigious producer of trout and a paradise for young fly fisher such as I.
I was a 'dryfly' man and the fish on the Onney came well to the surface fly such that on one never to be repeated day June 12 1966, during a heavy emergence of mayfly I took Thirty Five trout to surface fly, returned every one alive and carried on fishing into the evening.
At Halford on the Onney where the West and East Onney meet there was a triangular shaped meadow full of flowers. I used to take lunch there and often fell asleep in a place where no one had come it seems since the beginning of the century. Across the river from where I lay was a Damson orchard. One of the old trees was a sentinel post for an itinerant Cuckoo who sang me to sleep.
It seems that since then I measured every place I fished in the world with that topmost beat of the river Onney. I guess I am still searching to hear the sound of that cuckoo. This poem is about that time.
O let me go before I die
To that wooded vale
And those rolling dales of West Shropshire
Just where the pretty Onney streamlet flows
And one could always suppose to catch a trout
But not much before May be out
The Onney was always a late river
Not that much use
And certainly no excuse
O let me lie again
In the cool long grass
Above Halford bridge
Just where the two rivers meet
A rather neat confluence of West and East
Crystal clear on normal days
Yet with a peaty stain after rain
Then the trout at its fining down
Came to dry fly
Just as soundly as ever
O I oftimes sigh
To the lord on high
Take me again to that plain
Triangular field at Onney meet
where a Plethora of meadow flowers
Repeat and repeat this painted England
Where there you could lay all the day
And listen to the sound of the silence
Be transformed to a place and time
Where the pace of commerce
was nothing worse
Than the speed of a horsedrawn Haywain
O take me there where
Amongst the glistening white
Of the Damson blossoms across the river
A cuckoo sang and a corn bunting Jangled
His 'bunch of keys' song all the day long
And I took him into my subconcious
In this world of yesterday
In this A E Coppard paradise
Of the 'Black Dog' and 'the ring of truth '
And of 'Craven Arms'
O I will guess
That in the whole mess
Modern life has become
That I for one will still hear
The sheer incessant
Call of that cuckoo in the damson trees
Reflection is no desease
And this thing I hold true
Deep in my Id I still search
For the sound of that cuckoo
And we in England
Fought a war for places such as Craven Arms
Poetry by lastromantichero
Read 1929 times
Written on 2008-05-10 at 11:04
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