John F. Deane
| poetry


There had been cat-stink out by the bushes,

and I was scared

for the song-thrush, its nest

a chalice of grass and twigs, carpeted


with mud and human hairs; there were five

glossy sky-blue eggs

spotted with black stars. The birds, evenings,

intoned old Gaelic melodies


in the back yard, softly repeated

flute-notes, sounding

of woods and orchids and running streams.

The redcurrant bushes


had wintered like stragglers after the fair,

leftovers, wickerings,

but now are rich with leaves and hidden

currant clusters. Dandelions swarm


through the grasses and thrush’s song holds

a sweeter bitterness;

thrush’s young are fattening on snail and worm,

thrush has a fine red berry in its bill; and I,


in God’s in-breathing out-breathing presence,

am at prayer, I am

psalm and psalter, word and silence, I am bird

and bush and berry, accompaniment and song.

John F. Deane, born Achill Island, Ireland; founded Poetry Ireland and its journal, Poetry Ireland Review; founded The Dedalus Press. Is a member of Aosdana. In 2015 published Give Dust a Tongue: A Faith and Poetry Memoir, and a collection of poems from Carcanet UK, Semibreve. A new collection comes in June 2018: Dear Pilgrims.

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