PRE-ORDER: AVAILABLE 25 MARCH 2024
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