The power of song, to sustain the human spirit, resonates through this new collection from Paul Henry. In 'Cave Songs', a trapped caver, haunted by a 'ghost choir', crawls back through songs to the sea; Welsh soldiers in 'As if to Sing', pack their hearts into a song, on the eve of the Battle of Passchendaele, 'for safe-keeping'; a woman's grief is 'unconscious of its song' and a child sings 'a song with no beginning or end' as father and son cross a bridge in the mist.
Like the 'river’s trick' in Nightlines, 'at once moving and still', past and present share the same lyric moment in Henry’s work, the same 'torchsong' of music and light.
A familiar surrealism pervades 'The Key to Penllain', the collection’s longest poem, set in the 1960’s. Its time-bending dream-sequence sees Greek gods sunbathing on a Ceredigion beach while two children dig for a key that could save the planet.
Full of the musical lyricism admired by readers and fellow poets alike, 'As if to Sing' is an essential addition to this poet's compelling body of work.