A Fishing Child (I)
At five or six or something about that age,
An age so tender and young,
Age when a child plays with building blocks and toys
Or playing in the sand as common to most African children
The fishing child had his own path lined
Lined with herculean job of diving and plunging in rivers
His task is to make for himself a mean
A mean which passes through the depths of waters
Cutting short lives of fishes whether big or small
A mean unto a golden dream and a future unknown
Jumping in his canoe and taking a seat on the canoe’s deck plate,
He paddled slowly, and gently, and tenderly, and steadily
He navigates his way through the seas unto the deeps,
The deeps of the seas and the rivers deepest parts
But as every canoe paddler already knows,
Canoes sometimes capsids and one who can’t swim gets drown
Does the five or six years old fishing child know how to swim?
Ah, I won’t let you wonder that all alone and all by yourself,
I’ll be here to wonder and figure it out all and with you
Deep in the heart of the sea and ready to make a lunch,
The fishing child move swiftly to the canoe’s middle stern
And as the sun take advantage of the bluish sky because the night is gone
So the fishing child takes advantage of a training and father’s trade
For they have been fishing partners for many months running
That’s a mystery worthy of a wonder to adorn with imaginations
The fishing child knots his net unto a long bamboo stick,
And lowering the bamboo into the depths of the seas,
He anchors his net as a sailor would dock his ship on the harbour
With paddle on one hand and the other to paddle and sail,
The fishing child begins to lunch his net for a catch
Training a Child
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Lunch and paddle, lunch and paddle, and on in a row
The child made his way through the still quiet sea with his net
First making curve like a rainbow but without the rainbow’s colours
O’ he had made a beautiful bowl with his net along a circumference
And back to his anchored bamboo stick standing middle-way in sea
He drag and pull as his net’s floaters float and buoyancy and float
Ah all the fishes in the inside of bowl are perhaps going to be his
He made a catch of mackerels, tilapia, herring, and perch
Fishing child made plenty a catch and made his way back home for a roast
The fishing child is skilled and a great little kingfisher
He can swim too—he learnt that at about age of four or five
The fishing child is a poetic presentation of a childhood experience in a riverine. Fishing is the trade the fishing child learnt from his dad at the tender age of about four or five. By the time he was six or seven he had a good mastery of the trade and could go all alone. One good thing about this childhood experience, which in modern days could be termed 'child labour', is that it is capable of creating a man in a child's body.
Yes, that early training and experience of following a dad, becoming a dad's partner, and learning a dad's trade make a lot of difference in adulthood.
I had this same childhood experience which is still valuable for me to date. Each time I had an opportunity to visit my small village, Odeke, and our farm's stead, Arah, fishing is one of the things I do. It remains the most practical trade to me, and I do it happily at the slightest opportunity.
I'll soon be visiting my village, and that filled me with happiness and great excitement because I am going to remember the good old days. I love fishing, and I say it with pride.
Now I want to pass the baton to you by asking the question: 'What trade do you learn from your mom or dad as a child?'
Do you enjoy this poem, and the accompanying ENVOI?
“Everything a child experiences, either by way of indulgence or the self-restraint you impose, is preparing him for the day when he will mature into a responsible, moral soul. Somewhere on that road of development, each child will graduate to commence his full accountability. That child then stands alone before God, “without excuse.” It becomes his day of accountability.”— ― Michael Pearl, To Train Up a Child: Turning the hearts of the fathers to the children
Opinion Call: Personal Self-evaluation
What trade would you like to pass on to your child, and why?
© 2017 Ajodo Endurance Uneojo