Over time Heaney will write of the rivers and streams close to his boyhood home in a variety of moods. In Trout he takes advantage of an opportunity to pause on arched bridges and acquaint himself with life-forms in the stream below. The poet offers a master-class on how to translate visual observations into words; The first quatrain is formed around contrasting verbs: one of motionlessness, the other of movement: at one moment the fish Hangs (as if suspended in the water), its latent power like a fat gun-barrel waiting to be triggered; next it stirs (slips), sliding effortlessly like butter down the throat of the river. The trout’s design enables it to operate from the river’s depths smooth-skinned as […]