Testament of a Fisherwoman

Testament of a Fisherwoman

By Emerald LaFortune, 2019

After, in honor of, Robert Traver’s, “Testament of a Fisherman”, 1964

I fish because I love to;

Because I love the environs where trout are found, which are invariably beautiful and hate the environs in which crowds of people are found, in which I inevitably get called sweetheart or “accidentally” touched on the ass;

Because of all the lipstick commercials, cocktail parties, and assorted double-standard female social posturing I thus escape;

Because in a world unaccustomed to women doing whatever the hell they want, my fishing is at once an endless source of delight and an act of small rebellion;

Because trout do not know I’m a woman by the drift of my fly;

Because trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed, or impressed by power;

Because trout do not make shitty comments about my body, and instead respond only to mutual quietude, humility and endless patience (skills women have had a few millennia to perfect);

Because I suspect men are going to be this way for a long time, and I don’t want to waste my trip always frustrated with them;

Because, mercifully, there are rarely Instagram trolls on trout waters;

Because only (far enough back) in the woods I can find solitude without creepy pick up lines;

Because bourbon out of an old tin cup always tastes better out there;

Because one day the world will consider me an angler, not a mermaid;

Because of the kind friends I meet tromping up and down the bank;

Because if I can navigate and fish complicated waters, it gives me confidence I can navigate and succeed in a complicated life;

and finally, not because I regard fishing as being so terribly important, but because I see the way men in Howler Bros shirts insist it’s a big deal, and inserting myself in other self-important concerns of men isn’t near as much fun.

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The Original Poem:

Testament of a Fisherman

Robert Traver 1964, (Judge John Voelker 1903-93)

I fish because I love to;

Because I love the environs where trout are found, which are invariably beautiful, and hate the environs where crowds of people are found, which are invariably ugly;

Because of all the television commercials, cocktail parties, and assorted social posturing I thus escape;

Because, in a world where most men seem to spend their lives doing things they hate, my fishing is at once an endless source of delight and an act of small rebellion;

Because trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility and endless patience;

Because I suspect that men are going along this way for the last time, and I for one don’t want to waste the trip; because mercifully there are no telephones on trout waters;

Because only in the woods can I find solitude without loneliness;

Because bourbon out of an old tin cup always tastes better out there;

Because maybe one day I will catch a mermaid;

And, finally, not because I regard fishing as being so terribly important but because I suspect that so many of the other concerns of men are equally unimportant – and not nearly so much fun.

Merging Trails

Merging Trails

Women's Spey Day in Salmon, Idaho

Women's Spey Day in Salmon, Idaho