Testament of a Fisherman


Testify is a visual poem adapted from the essay “Testament of a Fisherman” published in 1964 by Michigan author John Voelker.

Over 50 years later we filmed this video on and around the author’s home waters of Marquette County on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula because we believe the pure trout waters and relaxed pace of life of this region haven’t changed much.

Today the need for time on a river and reconnection with nature are more important than ever–and Voelker’s words still ring true.

Produced by: www.aaronpeterson.net
Music: “Rise” by Tony Anderson
Special thanks to Captain Brad Petzke of Rivers North Fly Fishing, Nick and Mike VanCourt, and Joel Lantz.
Voelker’s works adapted with permission from his family and Kitchie Hill, Inc.

John Voelker’s poem “Testament of a Fisherman”:

I fish because I love to
because I love the environs where trout are found, which are invariably beautiful, and hate the environs where crowds of people are found, which are invariably ugly
because of the television commercials, cocktail parties and assorted social posturing I thus escape
because, in a world where most men seem to spend their lives doing things they hate, my fishing is at once an endless source of delight and an act of small rebellion
because trout do not lie or cheat but respond only to quietude and humility and endless patience;
because I suspect that men are going along this way for the last time, and I for one don’t want to waste the trip; because mercifully there are no telephones on trout waters
because only in the woods can I find solitude without loneliness; because bourbon out of an old tin cup tastes better out there; because maybe someday I will catch a mermaid
and, finally, not because I regard fishing as being so terribly important but because I suspect that so many of the other concerns of men are equally unimportant – and not nearly so much fun