Rock Shadow is essentially a celebration of the natural landscape, people, nature and place. Many of the poems evoke the atmosphere of the west coast of Ireland: the Atlantic, the landscape, and the drama of the changing light through the four seasons.
Rock Shadow evokes, in a direct way, the atmosphere of contemporary Ireland. There is a passionate engagement with a country undergoing the stresses of irrevocable change. Rock Shadow seeks to record something of the old Irish traditions, culture and way of life, which have been under increasing threat since the middle of the twentieth century. The poems are an attempt to preserve the natural environment. They draw your attention to a decline in ancient Irish traditions, customs, values and craftsmanship. A few poems are a reaction to a rapidly changing Ireland. They attempt to capture what will be completely lost in the future.
There are poems also that express the pervasive grief occasioned by the death of loved ones and neighbours. ‘Rock Shadow at Halloween’ is an extended meditation on the fact of death, and the relation of the living to their remembered dead. ‘Visiting the Dead’ expresses the grief and loss that you experience in a cemetery when you realise that the dead were once as engaged in their lives as we are now, and that a place can be peopled with ghosts from the past as we get older.
‘Granuaile, Sea Queen of the West’ is a long narrative poem that encapsulates the vivid life and times of a great Irish woman. It is a written tribute to the Irish heroine, Grace 0’Malley. The poem seeks to express the complex bond between Ireland and England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.