The book spans one autumn and one winter, framed by the departure of the swallows from the author’s backyard and concluding with their return. In between, the author travels on foot or by bicycle along some quiet country lanes of 21st-century Ireland. Mingling his musings with references from seventh-century poetry to modern geological studies, the author encourages us to look again at nature around us and to respect and protect it.
As a writer born and raised in England with Irish parents he finds that his exploration of nature and the fields around his Irish home become wrapped up in feelings of identity even as he is ostensibly discussing swallows or otters.
Joseph Horgan was born in Birmingham, England, in 1964 of Irish parents. His poetry collections are Slipping Letters Beneath the Sea (Tralee, Doghouse, 2008) and An Unscheduled Life (East Sussex, UK, [with the artist Brian Whelan] Agenda Editions, 2012). His book The Song at your Backdoor (Cork, Collins Press 2010), which was an RTE Book on One is a reflection on the relationship between poetry and landscape and meditative engagement with his local world in Cork. He was shortlisted for the Hennessy Prize in 2003 and won the Patrick Kavanagh Award for poetry in 2004. Horgan writes a weekly column for the Irish Post from his Cork home.