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"To all his friends and to his family he was just Joe — robust, happy-go-lucky, always up to something. But to himself he was just someone abandoned, lost, really forgotten by something, something majestic and beautiful that he saw in the world. Someday on his motorcycle he wanted to go far out across the U.S.A-just for the "hell of it" and just for something else too--to see sublime mountains, massive canyons, great mountain forests drumming in the high winds, lakes where he could pitch camp, the deserts and the mesas and the great rivers that somehow had forgotten him, the vast "man's country" of his boyish dreams."
"We sometimes catch ourselves getting a little conceited as we stand out there in the dark without having landed so much as a single trout between us all evening. I mean, this is the really difficult fishing, definitely not for amateurs.
Someone finally says, "I'll tell ya, this isn't something for those guys who have to have 'big fish and lots of 'em,' is it?"
And someone else answers, trying to keep the uncertainty out of his voice, "Nope, it sure isn't."
For the moment at least, we fall into that class of fishermen who fancy themselves to be poet/philosophers, and from that vantage point we manage to pull off one of the neatest tricks in all of sport: the fewer fish we catch the more superior we feel."
"In the swamp the banks were bare, the big cedars came together overhead, the sun did not come through, except in patches; in the fast deep water, in the half light, the fishing would be tragic. In the swamp fishing was a tragic adventure. Nick did not want it."
"There is a moonshaped rictus in the streetlamp's globe where a stone has gone and from this aperture there drifts down through the constant helix of aspiring insects a faint and steady rain of the same forms burnt and lifeless."
"There were others: men with long beards and wide-brimmed straw hats, standing three abreast atop giant hay wagons, wooden pitchforks in hand, almost biblical against the prairie sky."
How Poetry Comes to Me: It comes blundering over the / Boulders at night, it stays / Frightened outside the / Range of my campfire / I go to meet it at the / Edge of the light
"I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time."