"A Talk At Fireplace" by Adriaen van Ostade, 1640
Always there would be stories of lights
hovering among bushes at the foot
of a meadow; maybe a goat with cold horns
pluming into the moon; a tingle of chains
on the midnight road. And then maybe
word would come round of that watery
art, the lamping of fishes, and I'd be
mooning my flashlamp on the licked black pelt
of the stream, my left arm splayed to take
a heavy pour and run of the current
occluding the net. Was that the beam
buckling over an eddy or a gleam
of the fabulous? Steady the light
and come to your senses, they're saying good-night.
"Fireside" by Seamus Heaney, from Selected Poems 1966-1996. © Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998.