I’m having a love affair (three years long now) with a poem. It’s called “Pike”, written by Ted Hughes.
Ted Hughes is a shaman, in case you didn’t know.
He’s actually a British poet who began publishing in the mid 20th century. I think he’s a shaman though.
He’s written loads of good stuff but I like “Pike” the best. It’s a poem about fish and the person who endeavors to snag one on the end of his/her fishing line.
Listen to Hughes read “Pike”:
When I first read the poem three years ago, I knew it was about transcendence and then I read a book about Hughes and shamanism (I told you so), and that really confirmed it.
Cut to the spring of 2014 during the final semester of college: I’m sitting in a small classroom for my History Senior Thesis class and my professor says “Explain the work and role of a historian.”
“Pike” and Ted Hughes came to mind. “Historians are fishing” I say.
Cut to one month ago, as snow was dusting the valley, a friend asks me “What is the role of an artist?”
“Artists are fishing”, I say.
I read “Pike” again this evening. I read it aloud and lingered on the final two stanzas–sensed their power as the woods floated.
Dear Ted Hughes, Dear Pike,
You make me want to be a poet. Opening my notebook is easier because of you.