I Speak for the Fish: ‘Twas the night before Fishmas

I Speak for the Fish: ‘Twas the night before Fishmas
December 18, 2023 Kathy Johnson, Great Lakes Now

I Speak for the Fish is a monthly column written by Great Lakes Now Contributor Kathy Johnson, coming out the third Monday of each month. Publishing the author’s views and assertions does not represent endorsement by Great Lakes Now or Detroit Public Television. Check out her previous columns.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the lakes
Not a creature was stirring, not even a drake;
The poles were all strung by the river with care,
In hopes a big salmon went cruising by there;

The sunfish were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of nightcrawlers danced in their heads;
And ma in her Carhartt, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long fishing nap.

When out on the water there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my lawn chair to see what was the matter.
Away to the railing I flew like a flash,
Where out on the lake I saw a huge splash.

The moon shone upon the wind-driven waves
Their frothing and rolling too large to brave,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but the largest lake sturgeon I’d ever seen here,

I knew in that moment the legend was true,
As the big fish had risen from out of the blue.
Larger than all was the great Spirit Sturgeon,
As rare and revered as the famed holy virgin.

With a jump and a dive so lively and quick,
She flew through the waves with a single tail flick.
More rapid than eagles the fishes they came,
When she surfaced and porpoised and called them by name;

To the top of the waves! To the top of the seawall!
Now dash up here! dash up here! dash up here all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the lake-top the species they flew,
the mooneye and bowfin and zebrafish too.

When the waters turn cold at this time each year,
That signals to her to gather them near.
The big and the small all answer her call,
and together they formed a huge swirling ball.

She reminded them all that winter was coming,
And the shallows would soon be totally numbing.
The best thing to do was follow her lead,
And head for the depths with significant speed.

Some of them wondered what they stood to reap,
By following her down into the dark and the deep,
With her they’d avoid the icebergs above,
And, more importantly, the cold-water thugs.

Safe from the whitefish and hungry lake trouts!
Her words removed their lingering doubts.
If the blue water hunters were heading this way,
Then they needed to leave, without delay.

She sprang to the front, to the group gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard her exclaim, ere she dove out of sight,

Catch more news at Great Lakes Now: 

I Speak for the Fish: Favorite fish books

I Speak for the Fish: Carp are crazy about corn

Featured image: Underwater Christmas tree. (Photo Credit: Greg Lashbrook/PolkaDot Perch)

1 Comment

  1. JS 4 months ago

    Well done! Thank you for sharing!

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *