The Real Bait
To gentle ways I am inclined;
I have no wish to kill.
To creatures dumb I would be kind;
I like them all, but still
Right now I think I'd like to be
Beside some rippling brook,
And grab a worm I'd brought with me
And slip him on a hook.
I'd like to put my hand once more
Into a rusty can
And turn those squirmy creatures o'er
Like nuggets in a pan;
And for a big one, once again,
With eager eyes I'd look,
As did a boy I knew, and then
Impale it on a hook.
I've had my share of fishing joy,
I've fished with patent bait,
With chub and minnow, but the boy
Is lord of sport's estate
And no such pleasure comes to man
So rare as when he took
A worm from a tomato can
And slipped it on a hook.
I'd like to gaze with glowing eyes
Upon that precious bait,
To view each fat worm as a prize
To be accounted great.
And though I've passed from boyhood's term,
And opened age's book,
I still would like to put a worm
That wriggled on a hook.
Edgar Albert Guest
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