'Fans of Seamus Heaney will find plenty to admire in this, his 12th collection of poetry. There are the usual precise observations of the natural world: 'The glum grey pocks/ White dandelion milk/ Would mark your skin with as it dried.' The childhood memories, present and active in the man: 'Ghost-footing what was then the terra firma/ Of hallway linoleum, grandfather now appears...'
Perhaps the best poem is 'A Herbal', a homage to Guillevic's 'Herbier de Bretagne', in which Heaney meditates on the varieties of plants growing in graveyards - grasses, nettles, bracken, broom, blackberries - and their significances. 'If you know a bit/ About the universe/ It's because you've taken it in/ Like that/ Looked as hard/ As you look into yourself/ Into the rat hole/ Through the vetch and dock that mantled it.'
There is the lightly worn erudition: 'Route 110' maps the arc of a life on to the underworld section of Virgil's Aeneid; 'Hermit Songs' revisits the heroes of Gaelic legend. There are the tender, reverent memories of family: 'Album' is a meditation on old photos of his parents, seeing them anew through an adult's eye. The poetic voice is quiet and contemplative - perhaps a bit lacking in fireworks. But that is what admirers of Heaney love.'