John F. Deane was born on Achill, an island off the Irish coast. Not only is he the new editor for Poetry Ireland Review, but he founded that journal more than thirty years ago. He is known both for his own poems, and for his translations of European poets, including Tomas Tranströmer. In 1985 he also founded Dedalus Press, which has significantly contributed to poetry in Ireland. His poems have been translated into French, Bulgarian, Romanian, Italian and Swedish. Deane's poetry has brought him many international awards and honours.
He has written a new translation of “The Dream of the Rood” which appeared in his 1997 book, Christ, with Urban Fox. His most-recent collection Eye of the Hare was published by Carcanet in 2011.
Unholy we sang this morning, and prayed
as if we were not broken, crooked
the Christ-figure hung, splayed
on bloodied beams above us;
devious God, dweller in shadows,
mercy on us;
immortal, cross-shattered Christ—
your gentling grace down upon us.
Bring me ashore where you are
that I may still be with you, and at rest.
Your name on my lips, with thankfulness,
my name on yours, with love.
That I may live in light and know no terror of the
but that I live in light.
When I achieve quiet, when I am in attendance,
be present to me, as I will be to you.
That I may hear you, like a lover, whisper yes —
but that you whisper yes.
Be close to my life, my loves, as lost son to mother,
as lost mother to son.
But be close.
Come to me on days of heat with the cool breathing
of white wine, on cold
with the graced inebriation of red.
But that you come.
That you hold me in a kindly hand
but that you hold me.
Do not resent me when I fail
and I fail, and I fail, and I fail.
That I may find the words.
That the words I find to name you
may approach the condition of song.
That I may always love with the intensity of flowers
but that I love,
but that I always love.
Posted with permission of the poet.
*This is the first Kingdom Poets post about John F. Deane: second post.
Entry written by D.S. Martin. He is the award-winning author of the poetry collections Poiema (Wipf & Stock) and So The Moon Would Not Be Swallowed (Rubicon Press). They are both available at: www.dsmartin.ca