Saturday Poem

The Spoonbait

So a new similitude is given us
And we say, The soul may be compared

Unto a spoonbait that a child discovers
Beneath the sliding lid of a pencil case,

Glimpsed once and imagined for a lifetime
Risen and free and spooling out of nowhere —

A shooting star going back up the darkness.
It flees him and burns him all at once.

Like the single drop that Dives implored
Falling and falling into a great gulf.

Then exit, the polished helmet of a hero
Laid out amidships above the scudding water.

Exit, alternatively, a toy of light
Reeled through him upstream, snagging on nothing.

by Seamus Heaney
The Haw Lantern
Farrar Straus Giroux, 1987