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The Lowest of Low Waters

A meditation

A fisherman in Portsmouth Harbour at low water (source: author)
A fisherman in Portsmouth Harbour at low water (source: author)

He started his silent Monday meditation well before dawn, interrupted only by the cries of seabirds and the gentle lapping of the water — which was now almost at his waist. The lowest of low waters always occurs here around 06:00. Between the coast path and Pewit Island the ebb always leaves a long pool of water that traps a few fish. But now the tide is on the turn and time for communing with nature must end — regardless of whether anything other than seaweed has been caught. That, despite the lack of a riverbank, reminded me of my father’s gentle guidance.

Father had taken exception to my English teacher’s strictures on avoidance of ambiguity. Dad pointed out that one exceptional quality of the language was its glorious scope for double meanings — one of the many reasons why English, once mastered, could be such fun. Why, you may ask, is this memory prompted by a lone fisherman standing halfway in the harbour? Simply this — a brief but memorable rhyme that made me chuckle nearly seven decades ago and again today on my way home to breakfast.

The One Who Got Away

Upon a riverbank, serene, A fisher sat, where all was green,

And looked it.

He saw, when light was growing dim, A fish, or else the fish saw him,

And hooked it.

He took, with high-erected comb, The fish — or else the story — home,

And cooked it.

Recording angels, by his bed, Weighed all that he had done, or said,

And booked it.

Maybe the morning meditation served our fisherman, well. Maybe he was well pleased with his fishy encounters in the early hours. We can all dream, and I can smile with this memory of my father. A very good start to the week for both of us, and another blog in Bruno’s bag.


This article is included in the Groupe Intellex List, ‘Portchester — the place I call home’ and was first published as Bruno’s Blog by Liberal Democrat Councillor, Jean kelly.



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Groupe Intellex

Groupe Intellex

David Brunnen on Governance (Communities, Sustainability & Digital Challenges} PLUS reflections on life in Portchester — the place that he calls home.