The Nearly Sunken Pram: An Orca Story (for Geoff)

Killer Whales (Orcas) Up Close

Killer Whales (Orcas) Up Close

My brother and I
set out in our pram
to catch a salmon,
a pram no more
than eight feet long
and three across.

But as we trolled along
through the deep green water,
an enormous killer whale pod
snorted up beside us,
jerking our heads around
and startling our hearts to pound.

Transfixed, we watched them
roll up out of the water,
great great granddaddies
with dorsal fins eight feet tall
glistening wet in the sun
and wobbling stiffly.

Big snorts or air.
Sucking in of water.
Gurgling and spraying.
An eye staring out at us….
We knew they knew
we were there,

so without a word
we steered our pram in
closer to shore, rowing briskly,
but smoothly and evenly
so as not to draw
attention to ourselves,

and once we got in
to four feet of water,
we reeled in our lines,
dropped an anchor,
boated our oars,
and watched in awe

this magnificent family,
these mothers and infants,
these gallant fathers and sons,
the aunts and uncles and cousins,
grandmothers and grandfathers too,
cruising around these inland waters
that their ancestors cruised around
countless generations before—

herding the little ones
around the Sound,
around these hundred islands,
eating clean fish freely
and making friends
with whale people along the way.

Copyright 2015 by Rick Clark

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Stehekin River Washington Photos and Haiku: Fishing for Mosquitoes

what fun! the squirrel
depth-charging the river
with green pine cones

The Sneakiest of All Intruders: The Squirrel

War-mongering squirrel

reading the river
for the biggest rainbow trout—
I’m illiterate!

River's a rune!

River’s a rune!

there the two ducks squat—
on a rock watching me cast
the stream flowing by

Western grebes

Western grebes

across the river
the spinner casts glances
at the tied flies

The fly-fishermen across the river

The fly-fishermen across the river

just one good yank—
keeping the fisher’s spirits alive
for the next day

in my rubber raft—
held up by air by water
held down by stone

Wrenzai headed for other side of river (photo by Fran)

Headed for other side of river (photo by Fran)

not having a net—
tricking the big trout to swim
into a puddle

Tricked trout

Tricked trout

catching many more
mosquito bites than fish
biting my fly

please owl fledgling—
cry all night to your mother
over in the woods

Barred Owl, Waiting for Her Chance

Fledglings are noisy!

just hearing
a mosquito in the dark room
I itch all over

to swat or not
to swat the mosquito is
the question Buddhist

looks like Troy—
the mosquito carcasses
strewn about my legs

Lake Quesnel BC Rowing Journey Photos and Haiku

Richie and Dana Clark

Richie and Dana Clark

the rowing journey—
making it up as we go
having lost the map

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Grain Creek, rainbow trout, Dana Clark

the youngest brother—
catching the biggest rainbow
with an ugly fly

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Long Creek, Dana Clark

abrupt windstorm—
catching our tents before they
fly into the lake

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Long Creek camp

after a chant
to the Indian spirits
the gale abates

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Long Creek, caterpillar

on a rain-slicked stone
also waiting out the storm—
a caterpillar

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Lake trout

the middle brother
snagging the longest fish—
lake trout from bottom

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Long Creek, Dana Clark

never noticed
how a mosquito walks—
socked in the tent

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Mitchell River log camp

waking to a rainbow
reflected on the lake—
what’s left for my heart?

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North End Lake Quesnel, Dana & Richie Clark

the son rowing
the father catching fish
the son soon fries

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Roaring River, ouzel fledgling

the ouzel tricking
her fledgling with food to flee
the birdwatchers

Roaring River butterfly

Roaring River butterfly

the butterfly
I’m trying to shoot landing
on my camera

Hunters Point, Dana Clark

Hunters Point, Dana & Richie Clark

father and son
carving first walking sticks—
troubled by knots

Hunters Point, Richie Clark

Hunters Point, Richie Clark

pan-fried rainbow—
after a long hard day
of skipping stones