Caught and Released

Keen fishermen
Of the sporting kind
Thinking themselves kind,
Release the hapless fish
They have caught
On a barbless hook.
Kind to the fish.
Not kind to a lover
Caught on the lure
Of your allure.
With no wish
To be free.
Standing on the shore
While you cast for more
In the eager sea.

~ John Bishop Ballem, 1925-2010

Earlier this month, Alberta lost a prolific writer and remarkably generous supporter of the Alberta writing community, when John Ballem passed away at age 84 on January 9, 2010, in Calgary. John was a novelist, poet, and lawyer, and had published 12 novels, a volume of poetry titled Lovers and Friends, the Natural World, as well as a textbook on oil and gas law. His contributions will be gratefully remembered.

Dymphny and I were very pleased to be able to include his poem “Chinook” in the anthology Writing the Land: Alberta through its Poets in 2007.

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