Dad’s Fishing Knife

Dad’s Fishing Knife

Even though we are often people who live in the ideas in our heads we can be very concrete. Specific people, places and objects ground us in particular relationships and memories.  A knife Dad used to keep in our fishing tackle box brought it all back to me. It was a symbol of times shared together, of his fishing before my time, and of what may happen in the future. 


Dad’s Fishing Knife

There it was

in the tackle box

in the boot.

Sheathed in timber,

an offcut of simple grain

that he had cut

just to the size of the blade –

Dad’s fishing knife.

It had lived other lives too:

cutting fine twine for plumblines

on garden edges,

or severing coarse and wispy jute,

to stake up veges and flowers

in the garden.


it was the fishing knife for some years.

It had cut lines,

beheaded fish,

and gutted them.

Pippis it had prised.

There it sits now,

out of the tackle box.

Tempered in a forge,


by time and tides.

It was with us

when we first fished together

by the banks

of the Murrumbidgee River.

It had sat on the pub jetty

of Merimbula Lake,

while we had fought off crabs

so tailor schooling by

could bite on our lines.

The handle of that knife

holds memories to its hilt.

They are reminders of Dad


one I first dropped a line with.

And now,

here it is,

Dad’s fishing knife,

slicing through

the marrows of my memory.

It awaits

The next fish

With one fisherman down.




Simon C.J. Falk 8 February 2014


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