And the sun has left the sky
It's time to see O'Leary
With his lantern going by,
For every night at tea time
I take my window seat
As with lantern and with ladder
He goes slowly down the street.
These are the first two verses of Robert Louis Stevenson's poem for children that I think of whenever I see a lantern.
There is something so special about a lantern, beckoning us to safety in the dark, drawing us to its' glow, warm and welcoming. Down through the ages bringing ships to safety, the night watchman going through the town, on a table in a pub garden inviting us to sit round it and enjoy the company of friends.
In 'The lion, the witch and the wardrobe' C.S.Lewis uses the lantern to mark the place where the children can get back in the wardrobe and go home again.