Think of any criticism,
Each little bit of feedback,
And every morsel of praise,
As a little fish
Swimming through a public pond.

You are the fisherman
Sitting in the boat above.

Some days, you might decide
To throw out a wide net
Scooping up as many scaly swimmers
As the knotted mesh can hold.

Other days, you may want
To cast a careful line
Dangling it lazily into the water,
Waiting for that single, perfect fish.

Every day is different,
As we are different.

You may emerge
Sweaty and callused
From the intensity
Of your labour.

Or you may lay back
And stare dreamily
At the shapes
The clouds make
In the sky,
Waiting for the tell-tale
Tug on the line.

Neither choice is wrong.
There are many ways to fish.

The main thing to remember
Is that no fisherman
Keeps every fish.

The real art of fishing
Isn’t catching the fish.
It’s deciding which ones to keep.

So, the next time
You encounter a baited barb
In the mouth of a steely-eyed fish
Or the flurry of excitement
In a swirling school,

It is always a game
Of catch and release.

You can choose what you’d like
To take home and fry up for supper,
And what you would prefer
To let swim peacefully away.

Note: At the moment, I’m pretty obsessed with The Gift by Edith Eger, which I’m about a third of the way through. In the part I read last night, she makes a comment about how it’s important to always make the choice of whether to keep/use or whether to release feedback or criticism. I though this was going to be a more standard piece of writing about writing, but it came out as a poem instead.

Photo by Hunter Brumels on Unsplash