By Patrick Deeley



Keepsake is the 2024 poetry collection by Patrick Deeley, featuring poems of love, friendship, art, childhood and ageing.


All Poetry, Poetry from Ireland



The poems in Keepsake arrive as bounties from nature. They sing to experiences of love, friendship, art, childhood and ageing. Moving from the wetland meadows of the west of Ireland to the rugged surrounds of the River Dodder in Dublin, and further afield to Europe and beyond, they delight in catching the heightened, close to hallucinatory effects of time spent in the presence of wild and wilding, while yet communicating a punchy and palpable sense of the modern world – and ourselves with it – as being charmed, chaotic, and fleeting.

The shadow of annihilation hovers. Indeed, certain poems present the earth as post-apocalyptic yet somehow continuing, while others posit the idea and consequence of the narrator surviving in a ‘ghost life’ after his own death. All the poems show fidelity to – and echo the wonder of – our existence, what Philip Larkin calls ‘the million-petalled flower of being here’. Ultimately they bear testament to the dream nature of everything, the gift of this once and once only world that animates us.

“This Groundswell: New and Selected is a reminder, to those who need it, that here is a true poet whose work will survive as a crowning privilege in our generation.”
—Thomas McCarthy, Trumpet (Poetry Ireland)

“Fascinated by the empirical evidence, he displays a questing, questioning spirit before nature and the universe with a natural sense of awe before the mysteries.”
— Patrick Kehoe, RTÉ Culture


The egg you found, mother, in a hole
in the ring-fort hill, brought out
your ‘bad cess to the layabout hen’,

and I remember it for that, but more
because it possessed no shell,
yet could be held in its slack satchel

up to the light, yolk and albumen
intact, and intact as well – though fifty
summers have come and gone –

the papery feel of that quirk of nature
you gave your quirk-of-nature son.
Here I learn to cry again, cry absences,

the way we wear the world
of wildlife thin, yet fresh in my mind
you hand me this flimsy keepsake

as if it might prove a counter or a stay
to crake and Greenland goose,
all the wetland birds bound to fly away.


Cover image artwork Collage 3,
mixed media on paper 2021 by Judy Carroll Deeley

Keepsake, Patrick Deeley
25 March 2024
ISBN 9781915629227 HB
ISBN 9781915629234 PB

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About The Author


PATRICK DEELEY was born in County Galway in 1953. His most recent poetry collection is The End of the World (Dedalus Press, 2019), for which he won the 2019 Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award. This collection was also shortlisted for the 2020 Farmgate National Poetry Award. His other books with Dedalus Press are: Groundswell: New and Selected Poems (2013), The Bones of Creation (2008), Decoding Samara (2000), Turane: The Hidden Village (1995), Names For Love (1990) and Intimate Strangers (1986). Patrick Deeley served on the Council of Poetry Ireland from 1984 to 1989. He was awarded the 2014 Dermot Healy International Poetry Prize, the 2015 WOW2 Prize and a Patrick Kavanagh Merit Award in 1981. His poems have appeared in many leading international journals over the past forty years, including London Magazine, The Rialto, Arc, Atlanta Review, Chapman, Westerly and Irish Pages. His work has been translated to French, Italian, Spanish, Ukranian and other languages. Le Ossa della Creazione was published by Edizioni Kolibris in 2010, and Territoire / Territory appeared from Editions Alidades in 2011. ‘Woodman’ was chosen as one of ‘Ireland’s Favourite Poems’ following an Irish Times survey in 1999. The RTE Radio documentary series, The Poet and the Place, dedicated a programme to his work, as did RTE TV’s Nationwide and The Poet’s Eye. Patrick Deeley’s books for children include The Lost Orchard (O’Brien Press, 2001), winner of the Eilís Dillon Award. His critically acclaimed, best-selling memoir, The Hurley Maker’s Son (Doubleday Ireland, 2016), was chosen as their Book Choice by The Irish Times, Eason Books, The Pat Kenny Show and numerous other outlets. It featured on RTE’s Today programme and BBC Radio 4’s Midweek, as well as being shortlisted for the 2016 Irish Non-fiction Book of the Year Award. Patrick Deeley has read at many festivals including Bloom, Clifden Arts, Cuirt, Dublin Book Festival, Galway Arts, Glór, Kilkenny Arts, Oulu Music Festival in Finland, South Bank London, and a number of venues in the United States. He has led poetry workshops throughout Ireland for both children and adults, conducted lectures for post-graduate students on literary exchange programmes at TCD, and his ‘Poetry in the Classroom’, based on poem-making with children in Ballyfermot – where he worked as teacher and later as administrative principal – received Department of Education commendation and was published in ‘The Magic Emerald’ 1st to 6th Standards by CJ Fallon. (See also