Trolling with Wordsworth by B. B. Wright

Trolling with Wordsworth

Trolling with Wordsworth

A Short Story by B. B. Wright


Hardly able to contain myself, I stepped down from the driver’s side and took in several heaping lungfuls of the sweet pine air. Memories of my childhood made me giggle in its rush.

“It feels so good to be here again. Don’t you think, Julie? It’s been far too long. Aaah-oooooooooooooh! Aaah-ooooooooooooooh!”

“What the hell are you doing?” She asked as she exited the passenger side of the vehicle.

“It’s my wolf call.”

“I guessed that. But w-h-y? Do you think that’s wise?”

Having a low tolerance for such tomfoolery, I assumed she was somewhat discombobulated by my attempt at mimicry.

“Wise? It has nothing to do with being wise. It’s all about letting go and embracing the moment, Julie. Anyway, there aren’t any wolves in the area…I don’t think. Do you hear it?”

“What? That distant howling?” And, with a dismissive wave, she headed to the back of the SUV.

“I don’t hear any howl…Oh…I see…you’re just joshing me. You’d think I would have learned after forty years of marriage.” Joining her, I said: “Julie, just stop and listen for a moment.”

“What am I suppose to hear?” she asked as she opened the trunk of the van.

“Nothing. Only the serenity of silence and nature. And those smells! Aren’t they wonderful?”

Her askance look bellowed ‘ARE YOU CRAZY OR SOMETHING?’

“Julie, why don’t we leave the unpacking till later, eh? And run down to the dock?”

“Run? Down that rocky path?” She asked, cocking her head in the direction of the pathway. “You’ve got to be kidding?! You are kidding aren’t you? You’re not are you?!”

“Okay! Okay! I get it! Not run then. We’d go… carefully. It could be a serendipitous moment. What do ye say?”

The call of a loon caught our attention and for a moment we stood in silence listening until Julie piped up with: “I’m starving, you know? It’s long past my lunch time.”

I broke out into a cold sweat.

Unfortunately for me, I’d been on the wrong end of Julie’s mood swings when, in the blink of an eye, I’d seen her change from Jekyll to Hyde. And, it always starts with “I’m starving.”

My thoughts are already rushing ahead to ‘circling the wagons’ and screaming: FEED HER! FEED HER, NOW! AND QUICKLY!

Tentatively I asked: “Julie? There is a barbeque at the dock and we could cook that partial package of wieners we have in the cooler on it?”

Immediately, she stopped pulling out her suitcase.

I had struck the right chord.

“Picnic?” she queried.

Breathing a sigh of relief and trying to contain my excitement over this totally unexpected possibility, I replied: “Yes dear…a picnic.” Eagerly, I pulled out the cooler and set it on the ground. “We can use the picnic table already down there to eat on.”

“We’ll need a table cover to put the plates on, John.”

“It should still be in the boathouse. Let’s go.”

Twenty minutes later, we had finished our lunch of hotdogs and salads. Or at least Julie had. As for me, I was tucking away my third dog while I watched her place the lids back on the salad containers.

The lake was as smooth as glass and it was early enough in the season that the lake wasn’t abuzz with motorboats and the general busyness of cottagers.This was the opportunity I was waiting for: a romantic row on the lake. I had even remembered to tuck a collection of Wordsworth poetry in my pocket for the occasion.

“Julie? Once you’ve put the salads in the cooler, why don’t we take a row on the lake?”

“That sounds wonderful, John.”

“Well…there is a hitch.”

“A hitch?”

“Ah…yes…You’ll need to do the rowing.”

Her look was less surprised than it was darn right scary. The kind of look which shouted: IF I COULD KILL YOU RIGHT NOW I WOULD.

“Only initially,” I continued. “You see I have a romantic surprise for you. And I’ll need to sit at the back of the boat to do it justice.”

After a few awkward moments entering the boat, the two of us took up our positions, she at the oars and me at the stern, and pushed away from the dock. Five minutes out, I retrieved my small, telescopic fishing rod from my inner pocket and unrolled the line with the fly I had tied from the previous evening. From my other pocket I pulled out the first page of poetry entitled Love from my shirt pocket and, as I trolled, I began to read it to her:

“All Thoughts, all Passions, all Delights,
Whatever stirs this mortal Frame,
All are but Ministers of Love,
And feed his sacred flame.”

A momentary tug at my fishing line interrupted my reading. Testing the line I decided it was a false alarm and I continued to read:

“Oft in my waking dreams do I
Live o’er again that happy hour,
When midway on the Mount I lay
Beside the Ruin’d Tower…”

And, I thought, this moment could not be better: Wordsworth and fishing.

“Isn’t this romantic Julie?”



The White Picket Fence

The White Picket Fence
white picket fence oneby
B. B. Wright


In rustling of leaves

and beauty of Fall,

stands a quintessential hominess.

A classic perennial charm,

few among the things,

that touch the heart

like the white picket fence.

A simple iconic structure,

its boundary effectiveness assured,

embraces warmth and welcoming

to the weary traveler

who, on homeward bound,

passes through its gate.

White picket fence two___

Time drains through days

as through the body flows.

Where change unnoticed before

slaps against each pore.

Convoluted ripples on fingers

should not be ignored

upon the white picket fence.

Teardrop stains, appeal profusely

upon ash grey blades

that dare to stay

atop on bottom rail.

white picket fence four___

Once resonant with purpose,

like rockets skyward bound,

its blades well tempered.

Winter’s clock winds down;

the fence inward leaning,

its limbs aimless bound

from the lowly picket fence.

Once a cozy curb appeal,

now a patchwork compass

pointing everywhere and nowhere;

its remnants lay about

while eyes’ blinded minds

flounder in Nature’s paradise.

white picket fence six

Flock or Not: That’s What It’s All About

Flock or Not: That’s What It’s All About

A Poem

by B. B. Wright


A group of sheep is a herd or flock;

the shepherd is never a flocker.

A volery of birds is a fleet or flight

also a pod, congregation or parcel.

While small birds’ in groups

a dissimulation is called,

a mouthful to remember indeed!

Though these words are few,

soon you’ll learn new,

to describe a flock, congregation or parcel.

A gaggle of geese look up from the ground;

while in flight a skein, a wedge of their kind take notice

of Albatross—feathered giants indeed—

in flock or rookery combined.

“Spectacular!” the geese exclaimed,

in confidence of the sighting just seen.

Until the screech from the ground

where a party of jays

made the whole thing turn upside down.

“What do jays know?” was the harsh, self-assured, raucous reply

from the murder of crows nearby.

“There’s no mystery in this!”

screeched their unison entreat,

“It just simply is.”

A committee of vultures circled the gathering

waiting for the ripe time to come down.

“Look!” alerted the fall of woodcock:

“a wake, a kettle ‘uptown.’

An exaltation of larks

drowned out the woodcocks;

while an unkindness of ravens

on their way to the barn

scared a gulp of swallows in turn.

Grouped in charms, chattering, drums or troubling

—whatever their group is called—

humming wings and twittering squeak,

the hummingbirds’ nectar reply

was to counsel the geese

and give the jays peace

the hardest wisdom to buy.

In the front of the court

a murmuration of starlings and a host of sparrows patiently sit looking on;

while a pitying of turtledoves and a rafter of turkey hope the trial will not last long.

When the learned parliament of owls finally arrived,

with white gowns all newly preened;

before they could “hoo”

a prorogue was ensued

from the charm of warbling finch.

When the bouquet of pheasant nodded support

— simply not expecting a hitch—

that’s when the ostentation of peacock

yelled “Foul play!” and called it “A BITCH!”


when the owls consorted

with a sord of mallards

the tidings of magpies flew away.

Debate and rebuttal and erudite rubble

crumbled the mumble astray;

until egos did stumble

and they did fumble

apparently lost in melee.

An answer came out

—expedient no doubt—

and here’s what they had to say:

“Agreement lies far to the south…there’s simply no other way.”

Askance looks

—filled with doubts—

their dilemma chirped underway.

“Hoo, hoo-hoo, HOOH should go,

mallard or owl this day?”

“That answer is easy,”

quacked the team of ducks,

bunched up with their newly born.

A hush, like hoar-frost,

suddenly settled over

the cacophonous pod that day.

“Hmm!” said the chief owl, glaring down his nose

at the paddling of duck on the pond.

“Hoo-hoo can a bunch of ducks like you

and your brood of duckling know?”

His oppressive eyes and threatening ways

gave the ducks a stuttering blow.


a dole of doves

settled in

to defiantly stand in a row.

“Hoo, hoo-hoo, HOOH!  Okay!” the chief owl yawned,

“If you must. Let’s hear what you have to say.”

A young duckling stepped forth

to firmly take hold

her bold intention precise:

“Your answer is clear! Stay here!” she exclaimed,

stamping her web-foot twice.

“But…” stumbled the owl,

trying to recover

from someone as outspoken as she:

“the… Kingdom of Penguins…

with their waddle on land and their raft in water

have wisdom greatly revered.”

“I don’t give a damn!” the duckling exclaimed

“Look around you silly old owl!”

With a paradoxical look the parliament shook,

and clearly shrugged an answer in vain;

while moans and groans as if in pain

mixed with the congregations’ disdain.

The duckling strode forth

and with her mother’s support

the duckling took center stage.

“Wait!” she cried out,

with a surprising rapport,

for someone as young as she.

With the tip of her wing, she took them all in

especially the parliament to her lee.

“The paradigm shift

is real easy to see

if only you would all listen, please.”

When the siege of herons called out their support,

the volery of birds settled down.

“Here’s my question to you,” she slowly began,

earnestly looking around.

A slight murmur arose

among all the rows

until silence reposed profound.

“How many agree ,”

she preceded her challenge,

“raise a wing if you concur,

that a flock or rockery

of Albatross in flight

is a spectacular sight to see?”

Opinions and thoughts never really sought,

the pods hesitated ever so slight.

A glance to the left,

A glance to the right,

the center led the flight.

All wings raised

—except the jays—

for what they knew was right.

The chief owl humbled,

but still shrewdly insightful,

did not let his goals go astray.

“Answers all, lie within?” He thought,

this scrupulous circumspection could  pay.

His trap now laid

the duckling displayed,

scooped up so the flock could see.

His position without doubt

would now have real clout

sea to sea to sea.

Then laughter broke out

his parliament backed out

screeching pee-hoo-hoo

pee-hoo, pee-hoo at he.

When the chief owl looked down,

it was with a frown,

his white gown was all brown

below where the duckling had peed.

His plans now a shamble

by his selfish gamble

revealed by an innocent duckling like she.

When the duckling got down

she stood her ground

and the pod drew near to hear.

“Our rights are our might

—never surrender—

to someone the likes of he.

Though choices may be slender

your vote must be rendered

to ensure your destiny.”

A Father to His Son

For what is a poem but a hazardous attempt at self-understanding; it is the deepest part of autobiography. -Robert Penn Warren

fathers and sonsI gave this selection of poetry to my son on the occasion of his birthday two years ago.

Words and thoughts which are so often inaccessible are made accessible through the clarity and insights of Carl Sandburg. The reader is welcomed to be part of an intimate place and time that is bridged by a father’s love for his son. It is difficult not to be honored by the invitation.

It is with great pleasure that I share this poem with you.

A Father To His Son by Carl Sandburg

A father sees his son nearing manhood.
What shall he tell that son?
‘Life is hard; be steel; be a rock.’
And this might stand him for the storms
and serve him for humdrum monotony
and guide him among sudden betrayals
and tighten him for slack moments.
‘Life is a soft loam; be gentle; go easy.’
And this too might serve him.
Brutes have been gentled where lashes failed.
The growth of a frail flower in a path up
has sometimes shattered and split a rock.
A tough will counts. So does desire.
So does a rich soft wanting.
Without rich wanting nothing arrives.
Tell him too much money has killed men
and left them dead years before burial:
the quest of lucre beyond a few easy needs
has twisted good enough men
sometimes into dry thwarted worms.
Tell him time as a stuff can be wasted.
Tell him to be a fool every so often
and to have no shame over having been a fool
yet learning something out of every folly
hoping to repeat none of the cheap follies
thus arriving at intimate understanding
of a world numbering many fools.
Tell him to be alone often and get at himself
and above all tell himself no lies about himself
whatever the white lies and protective fronts
he may use against other people.
Tell him solitude is creative if he is strong
and the final decisions are made in silent rooms.
Tell him to be different from other people
if it comes natural and easy being different.
Let him have lazy days seeking his deeper motives.
Let him seek deep for where he is born natural.
Then he may understand Shakespeare
and the Wright brothers, Pasteur, Pavlov,
Michael Faraday and free imaginations
Bringing changes into a world resenting change.
He will be lonely enough
to have time for the work
he knows as his own.