At the Source

marea roja by ladyorlando

At the Source

On the shady side of Horn Mountain,
round the first bend of Bonaparte Creek,
a bearded trout tells fairy tales to a cluster
of wavery eggs, his voice of water
on pebbles lulls the brood in their gravel bed.

As angry Bass flicks his tail upstream,
the eggs quiver in their sacs,
but Bearded Trout’s eye looms larger
than the moon – “stay mum,” he bubbles,
“or Bass will purse his lips, suck you in,”

“and you will be like the Sleeping Faerie
entangled in strands of Spanish moss,
dragged through currents, over slimy rocks
from foothills to the sea, never to breath
clay-tinged waters again.”

The glistening eggs quiet in the cold
currents, listening to Bearded Trout
speak of their hatching day, small
fry loose on eddies, drinking air,
aware of shadows near dappled stones.


This poem is a result of thinking about the above painting, some words describing the landscape of the foothills where I live, and Michelle McGrane’s contribution to the collaborative link at Read Write Poem, Diving into the Wreck, by Adrienne Rich. Thanks for an interesting collaboration, Nathan.

I think this is a children’s poem, but I’m not sure. Would the part about thinking eggs be too scary or obscure for children? Or the Angry Bass?