Patrick Deeley

Patrick Deeley
Patrick Deeley
I grew up on the edge of a wetland meadow or Callows. The Callows was a wonderful place to get away to, a kind of outback where I felt I could hear myself think. I could reflect on my surroundings, try to understand the mystery and the magic. Poems only came later, in my mid twenties, after I had moved to Dublin – but I suppose without being aware of it I was internalising the specialised environment of the Callows, gaining an insight into how nature worked.

Then I learned that the writer Seumas O’Kelly was a relation on my father’s side. I read his powerful story, ‘The Weaver’s Grave’, and it showed me what language can do. Eventually I turned my hand to writing poems.

My grandmother – who rejoiced in the name Molly Headd – made ballads, and I remember reading these at age ten or eleven. To find she wrote ballads about the nearby Country Fair in Ballinasloe, for example, or about her son’s trade of blacksmith, was an eye-opener for me. I realised that one’s own experience, however far removed from the formal and sanitised versions of experience in school textbooks, was valid, and could be documented.

Then I learned that the writer Seumas O’Kelly was a relation on my father’s side. I read his powerful story, ‘The Weaver’s Grave’, and it showed me what language can do. Eventually I turned my hand to writing poems.

Now, thirty years later, I’m still writing, trying to say something meaningful to myself and, hopefully, to people other than myself. I enjoy the way the act of poetry writing makes me focus, the intense stillness it brings, the pleasure of a preoccupied feeling.

Keaveney’s Well

Didn’t ask who Keaveney was,
just took everything off – shoes, clothes,
sunhat – just took yourself
away from sweat and haymaking,
slid between low walls. It
might have been a stone coffin,
one of those ancient cists,
possessions arrayed about you
except that here the cold
submergence burned – senses said
you hadn’t lived before this
steeping of your bones. Clay
and marl juices seeped;
cress, pond lily tickled; the one-minded
school of minnow turned.
Land was aspiring to be water;
water wanted to be land.
A trembling happened, a bubble
spun glistening, then the great
taboo tail of the subterranean river rose;
you dreamed the evening
women come to dunk their pails.

–Patrick Deeley.

Listen to Pat Deeley on The Parlour Review



EXTERNAL LINKS

Patrick Deeley at Dedalus Press

Patrick Deeley at O’Brien Press



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