I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Home Uncategorized Endings and Beginnings

Endings and Beginnings

Enda Wyley
The End of the World, by Patrick Deeley, Dedalus Press, 102 pp, €12.50, ISBN: 978-1910251546 The End of the World, Patrick Deeley’s seventh collection of poetry, is a passionate and persuasive appraisal of the natural world. It’s a world already revealed in The Hurley Maker’s Son, Deeley’s critically acclaimed memoir which mapped the emotional and physical territory of his growing up years in Mullagh, Co Galway – which works well as a companion piece to this volume. In The End of the World, many of the poems refer back to those marshy lands, the Callows, that Deeley still loves so much. For example “The Migration”, with its arresting image of eels going “on a belly march, / teems of them ‘splathering’ across the wet / Callows, homing to the seaweed of the Saragosso.” Or “Poultice”, a poem which commences with a lush description of moths but concludes in a final and surprising hymn to birds: “each Callows river / running to loops that gathered / the waders – ‘bog bleater’, / ‘whaup’ curlew, ‘Goose of Ireland’ – / to stitch the mud of little lakes.” Deeley is a poet who thrives on nature as a vital source of inspiration in his work and his linguistic response to it is intricate, muscular and crafted with the same determination his father possessed when hard at work, “sawing timber with the sawdust flying”, in the poignant poem “The Wedge”. There is an expansive narrative at play too in many of the poems which connects the energy of the natural world with that of the contemporary. The title poem written in italics acts as a prologue to the book. A tragic startling moment is caught in the opening lines. 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. There may be “grief” at the end of the world, but Deeley philosophically concludes that “this, too, is the world, and somehow a beginning”. The power of storytelling dominant in this fine first poem is also present throughout the collection. In “The Ash Pit”, a curious child asks men busy “splitting logs into planks” too many questions about…



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