Ballad of the Blotch-Belly Basses
Now, the Blotch-Belly Basses
Had bellies with blotches,
Which made the plain-belly fishes
Those blotches weren’t so big. They were really so small.
You might think such a thing wouldn’t matter at all.
But, because they had blotches, all the Blotch-Belly Basses
Caused quite a stir among the media masses
The anglers would catch them and throw them back with a snort
They wanted nothing to do with the Blotch-Belly sort
“What caused those black blotches? Those hideous spots?
Let’s not fry them in pans or cook them in pots!”
And the plain-belly fishes, they saw this and jeered:
“You Blotch-Belly Basses are wickedly weird.
They throw you all back — it does truly amaze us.
You black-spotted basses must be highly contagious!”
So the scientists studied and state agencies squabbled,
The politicians looked like bobbleheads bobbled.
“Why?” they all pleaded, “do our basses have blotches?
Who is to blame? Who missed their due watches?
The frackers up north? Is it their melodrama?
Can runoff from farmers cause fish melanoma?”
That was 2012 … this is 2014
Is the fishery better? Is the river all clean?
Have we figured out the who, the how and the why?
Can the Blotch-Belly Basses collectively sigh?
The true mystery here may not be the blotches
Or the frackers or farmers or close river watches.
Perhaps the bigger the story is that there’s no story at all
And that those who should care have slipped into a lull.
It’s time to ruffle some feathers — stand strong and deliver
For our fishes, our families and our much-maligned river!
If you liked this, make sure you check out my column “Ode to the Angered Angler“