Cameron Scott is a poet, artist, teacher, contributing editor, and edited contributor whose work has appeared in publications including High Country News, Mountain Gazette, The Drake, The Fly Fish Journal, and The Ski Journal. He writes a monthly outdoor column for The Sopris Sun and currently splits his time between Colorado and Oregon.
Interlude with Ocho and Han Shan
By Cameron Scott
Every day the road gets more wash boarded,
Ocho gets skinnier, I drive back and forth from
Cold Mountain to town and stand all day
in rivers, chewing gum incessantly, praising
cast after cast, come home and praise the cat,
go to work and praise the cast, come home.
Clients ask the way to Cold Mountain while
hip deep in currents; there’s no thought to
carry them there, neither yes nor no as the sun
blazes down through swirling cottonwood seeds.
“Ocho suffers from cancer, but as any self-respecting cat, is determined to carry on as described in the opening poem, “From the Book of Ocho”: “And so I shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; that the world might be fulfilled with Ochoness.” Rooming with Ocho, learning the ways and needs of the cat for whom he is charged to care, Scott reflects on life through both the simplicities and intricacies of a cat’s life who wonders why the sun tastes like car tires and considers, “If I just bite the head off one last chipmunk, I’ll retire.”
A nature poet to be sure, Scott intersperses his poems of Ocho with awakening spring, something a man who chooses to live in areas where winter holds on long into summer has a keen appreciation. “In the soft shoots and stinging nettles where I pluck and chew on dandelion leaves, listening to songbirds, watching white moths on the wing, ants and bees not yet worn to summer grit.”
– Katy Nesbitt, The Observer
“This Cameron Scott fellow has taught me a few lessons about the fine art of throwing things in the water with a fly rod. I enjoy fishing with this guy. I’m a fan.Then he handed me a copy of his recently published book, The Book of Ocho, and described it as poems about a cat. Poems and cats are two things I do not understand. But, hey, I didn’t understand how to fish certain runs until Cam straightened me out, so I looked forward to reading the work of somebody I already know has a good read on the world.
Spoiler alert: Ocho the cat has cancer. Sorry to say, I bet most of us have experience by now with someone we know navigating the rough seas of cancer. Cam Scott is a good helmsman and I recommend the book for his handling of not just the cancer territory, but his take on the bigger pictures and how he goes about illustrating those.”
– Jon Rombach, Wallowa County Chieftain
Paperback: 64 pages Publisher: AGS (2013) Language: English ISBN-10: 098479722X ISBN-13: 978-0984797226 Available at Amazon.com