Dermot Healy's fourth collection presents itself as a book-length poem that charts the annual migrations of thousands of barnacle geese between their breeding grounds in Greenland and their winter quarters on an island beside his home. Section titles suggest stations on their route: 'The Leavings', 'The Arrowhead' and 'The Wild Goose Chase'. From renewed joy 'as they come from gaggle to skein in beautiful stitches / along a thread' the book's formal pattern displays a new skill as it reflects and records 'the story of two homes' and the shapes and sounds of their marvellous routines. But A Fool's Errand is also a study of fate. Framed by the funerals of friends, the poem yields grave lessons through characteristic epiphanies, scintillating poetry, and the music played by the 'orchestra of memory'.
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