One of its major themes is the tension between the public and the private, for which Philp often uses the metaphor of the urban and the rural. As well as being driven by spiritual and political yearnings, his poetry involves itself with the day-to-day. So love, walking the dog, responding to nature and the seasons, chatting with friends, observing what goes on in the street or the country lane are all included.
As Stephen says, “If someone were to ask me what my poetry is about, I would have no compunction about answering ‘Everything’. I am just as interested in the incidental, as I am in the major themes of life and love, and know from experience that they inform each other.”