In this new collection, the former National Poet of Wales once again demonstrates her complete mastery of her medium. This generous selection of richly textured poems is as ever deeply rooted in her beloved Wales whilst offering universal perspectives on life, on the human relation to nature in a changing world, and on the lingering presence of the past. Carefully grouped, these poems happily stand alone but yield further layers of meaning as they interact with each other. Drawing on personal memories as well as local and national history, she meditates on the recurring patterns of birth, fertility and death, not least in the moving poem-sequence ‘Hafod-y-llan’ where the extraordinary fauna and flora of this corner of the Snowdonian mountains intermingle with the human rituals of transhumance and the sheep-farming year, patterned with the Welsh words and phrases integral to this landscape. Elsewhere she celebrates scribes and writers from the past whose work left its mark on our language and consciousness, while in a series of thoughtful, tender elegies she breathes back to life not only well-loved poets of the past but even the specimens – from fossils to extinct bird to the brilliant wing-sheen of beetle or butterflies – imprisoned in museum cases. These assured, life-enhancing poems show Gillian Clarke at the peak of her powers.
'Gillian Clarke is one of the most widely respected and deeply loved poets in the world.'
Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate
'Gillian Clarke's [poems] ring with lucidity and power... Clarke's work is both personal and archetypal, built out of language as concrete as it is musical.'
Anne Stevenson, Times Literary Supplement