From the seaside town of his childhood to a canal path encountered in later years, liminal places where earth and water meet, where past and present collide and overlap, form a major theme in this tenth collection by well-loved poet Paul Henry. In the first sequence the voices of Catrin Sands, Prydwen Jane and Brown Helen, familiar from Henry’s earlier work, return to bring visual and musical echoes of the maritime past of west Wales, inseparable from the poet’s personal memories, recreating a local history from vivid vignettes. In the title sequence the focus moves to an inland waterway, to a canal where a telephone engineer working on a cable passing the old workhouse suddenly opens up a line to the long-dead inhabitants. A litany of forgotten paupers, each with their connections to this liminal place of water and earth, are given voice and come hauntingly to life, their names, occupations, joys and sorrows restored to them and to the place where they lived a while and died.
Teasing out the wonder and significance of ordinary lives with characteristic warmth and ear for telling detail, Paul Henry once again entrances the reader with a lyrical lightness of touch that belies the depths of these subtle, harmonious poems.
'This haunting, elegiac collection, about music, and made of music, leaves a reader's mind full of phrases, in both senses - verbal, and tonal - and exactitudes that catch the heart and lodge in the memory.'
'In this virtuoso new collection, Paul Henry, poacher-like, tracks the journeys of the heart through landscape, love and loss. He takes his place as one of the most important Welsh poets now writing.'
Carol Ann Duffy