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 the townland of Foxhall, outside Loughrea, Co. Galway, in 1953. He worked as a primary teacher, and later as administrative principal, in Ballyfermot until 2012. He has published six collections of poems with Dedalus Press: Intimate Strangers (1986), Names for Love (1990), Turane: The Hidden Village (1995), Decoding Samara (2000), The Bones of Creation (2008), and Groundswell: New and Selected Poems (2013). In 2019 Dedalus published The End of the World. In addition his poems have appeared in many leading literary outlets in Ireland, UK, USA, Canada and Australia over the past thirty five years. They’ve also been translated to French, Italian and other languages, as well as appearing in approximately fifty anthologies. His poem ‘Woodman’ was chosen as one of ‘Ireland’s 100 Favourite Poems’ in a survey organised by The Irish Times, and his most recent poetry awards include the WOW2 and The Dermot Healy International Poetry Prize. His novel for young people, The Lost Orchard (O’Brien Press), won the Eilís Dillon Award and a Bisto Book of the Year Award in 2001. Patrick Deeley's memoir, The Hurley Maker’s Son (2016), is published in the UK and Ireland by Transworld. In 2019 Patrick Deeley received the Lawrence O'Shaugnessy Award for Irish Poetry. "I try for poems that are pertinent to what’s happening now in the world, that are sturdy but light on their feet, plain-spoken but memorable. There’s still room for imagery and metaphor, for the old poetic devices – even onomatopoeia – and I hold to these regardless of what the fashionistas may say." – Patrick Deeley