An only child, he cadged a lift to Knock Bridge
on the bar of a bike,
the older boys pegged along the high edge
of the nearby Bann pursuing the killer pike.
Being a spoilsport, he had a taste
for something easier when they said the roach
would throw themselves at his feet,
were so crushed he could, without reproach,
walk their burnished spines, a path of seething light
over the Cusher. And sure enough, a bare hook
cast midstream and he was pulling them out right,
left and centre with that look
of utter surprise so common to the mainstream.
He didnít throw them back;
instead, filled his keepnet with perch, bream
and tarnished roach, and following the beaten track
across the flat strip of Armagh clay,
released the teeming shoals into the Bann like
treasure spilled, one or two trips that day
all it took to kill the hunger on the pike.