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Original Poem: "Fog on the Pond" with Commentary

Writing poetry became my major composing activity circa 1962, & Mr. Malcolm Sedam's creative writing class in 1963-64 deepened my interest.

Morning Fog on Lake

Introduction and Text of "Fog on the Pond"

This bucolic piece grounds itself deep in the simple, solitary, and singular setting of my early life. Growing up near a river, a creek, and three commercial fishing lakes, created, owned and operated by my family has offered me, as a poet, many opportunities to muse on country life.

I carry a virtual Arcadia down a country road in my mental/spiritual-garden, recorded in pastoral imagery inside the heart and soul of the rustic country girl that I am.

Fog on the Pond

Fog lifts morning off the pond.
A fish flops up out of the water,
Fires the early-bird fisherman's hope.
He sees his pole bend, almost break
Against the weight of his haul.

Noon sun bleaches the rocks along the bank.
The little girl dips her toe in the shallows
Sees her sister crossing the bridge
Coming home from town.

The frogs begin around sundown again.
Their chorus performs long into the night.
Campfires rim the edge of the water.
Beer shouting dies down around two.

Fog settles night over the pond.
Fishermen doze over their fishing poles.
The little girl sleeps in the house on the hill.
Her sister gets up early
To watch the fog lift again.

Reading of "Fog on the Pond"

Commentary

A virtual heaven down a country road dwells in my spiritual garden, somewhere inside the heart and soul of a simple country girl. The mental landscape of my childhood includes hills, woods, and all that water all under a loving Divine Presence, Which guarded me and guided my path through childhood and adolescence in the form of two loving, caring parents.

First Stanza: Dramatizing a Vision

Fog lifts morning off the pond.
A fish flops up out of the water,
Fires the early-bird fisherman's hopes.
He sees his pole bend, almost break
Against the weight of his haul.

The girl in the poem, whose vision is being presented, is simply dramatizing snippets of events, thoughts, and musings about what she feels and sees as she is transitioning from a child to an adult.

She has begun to rise very early, before other members of the home, and each morning she looks out the kitchen window and sees the fog lifting off the big pond, where during the summer months, fishermen come, pay their dollars, and then sink their lines into the waters of the lakes.

The musing girl sees those fishermen dot the banks. The visual image of a fish flopping up out of the water occurs to her; she then links it to some "early-bird" fisherman hoping for and then experiencing the drama of catching and landing a fish.

Second Stanza: Moving to Noon

Noon sun bleaches the rocks along the bank.
The little girl dips her toe in the shallows
Sees her sister crossing the bridge
Coming home from town.

The scene has moved from morning to "noon," to which the girl attributes the delicious act of sun bleaching the rocks that are lodged along the bank of the pond. The little sister of the musing persona appears dipping her toe in the water, observing that her older sister is returning home from town.

The mood of the poem remains steady, hardly apparent that this is a memory, and memory has a way with melancholy, joy, and simple pleasure that can, indeed, distort even as it preserves deep feelings, often better left unexposed, except in verse.

Third Stanza: On to Sundown

The frogs begin around sundown.
Their chorus performs long into the night.
Campfires rim the edge of the water.
Beer shouting dies down around two.

The scene moves again to "around sundown." Frogs have begun to sing and will continue to perform "long into the night." More fishermen are seen as they huddle over the "campfires" that they have built along the water's edge. These fishermen will swill beer and shout at each other until somewhere long into the night, resting for a while around 2 a.m.

Or likely it is the girl herself who is resting! She would not know if the reveling fishers actually continued their revelry until light of day. But she can report only what she can bring to mind so many years after the fact. Likely, she wants to restore only the pleasant.

Fourth Stanza: Night Again and then Morning Again

Fog settles night over the pond.
Fishermen doze over their fishing poles.
The little girl sleeps in the house on the hill.
Her sister gets up early
To watch the fog lift again.

The final scene finds the fog returning and resting itself "over the pond." The noisy fishermen are finally dozing as they continue to watch their "fishing poles." The girl's little sister, who had dipped her toes in the water earlier, is now asleep "in the house on the hill.”

The older sister, whose vision we are experiencing, will get up early again. And again, she will see the fog on the pond lifting in the morning sun.

The speaker has offered a simple accounting of a 24 hour period, and it has become apparent that this scene has repeated itself all those years ago many, many times.

As the present captures the past, the future is somewhere watching and waiting to make its presence in the lives all of who have participated in the drama.

© 2019 Linda Sue Grimes

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