By Patrick Deeley

The End of the World

The End of the World is the seventh collection of poems by “a true poet whose work will stand as a crowning privilege in our generation” — Thomas McCarthy, Trumpet


All Poetry, Poetry from Ireland


Patrick Deeley’s seventh collection of poems displays his deep-rooted concern for and engagement with the world around him – expressed, as ever, in muscular, musical, impassioned and persuasive verse.

In The End of the World, however, the tone is more troubled, more urgent. Here, multiple visions of “the uselessness / even of beauty in face of greed or misfortune” add up to a quiet but powerful appeal to something in our too-often distracted better selves.

Deeley reflects on today’s uncertain times, the potential for calamity where “barbarity shadows the loveliness always”. His evocations of wet meadow, seashore, city street, desert and moorland move with wonder through the living moment, sing the desire to make life last.

“Deeley’s mature style is consummate. The consonantal texturing of his lines crackle like active thoughts to recreate the experience of being actively in his world, or as he writes in the poem ‘Scribble Lark’: ‘to look deeper in…’ This is densely patterned language reaching to be an equivalent for lived experience but it is never strained or overdone. Intimate but not confessional with a sometimes creeped-out sense of deep time and dereliction (human, planetary), the general tone is constantly leavened and lightened by a warmth and a wry humour, by as it were in his own words: ‘my skew-whiff song’.”
— Causeway / Cabhsair


“Though a number of Irish poets have written about the great changes in Ireland during the last ten to fifteen years, none have done it as beautifully, as potently as Deeley.”
— Contrary (USA)

The End of the World


They’ve nothing in common, the young girl knocked
from her bicycle and dying on a roadside
in Harold’s Cross, and the tribesman of Sumatra
being interviewed on television, shaking
his head at the levelled forest, cut and burn stretching
for miles behind him; they’ve nothing in common

except, as the man says, the end of the world
is happening. And the sight of a green snake flicking
its tongue at a chainsaw that keeps cutting;
and the sight of a rainbow flourished above the city
after we look up from the crumpled shape
of the girl, both haunt us, being more than props

for pathos, more than backdrops to the uselessness
even of beauty in face of greed or misfortune.
The end of the world is happening, and grief that stands
sudden tears in our staring eyes might wish them
closed as soon, with no desire to open again –
but this, too, is the world, and somehow a beginning.

May 2019
ISBN 978 1 910251 54 6 paperback
ISBN 978 1 910251 56 3 hardback
102 pp

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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