Semibreve a new collection of poems
a new collection of poems by
John F Deane
will be published by
"John F. Deane is a vital presence in
contemporary Irish poetry. The poems in
Semibreve combine lyric grace with a fiercely
questing intelligence, pushing against the
mysteries of faith in a fractured world, paying
tribute to the value of human life and love.
Running through the book is a thread of elegy
for the poet’s brother, who died of cancer in
2010. The collection concludes with a sequence
describing a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
Throughout, Deane gives poetic voice to the
paradox of human existence as simultaneously
‘blessed and broken".
I sat, in the island chapel, moor’s edge, winter;
winds groaned and chistled round the walls outside,
the timbers creaked in the afterwarmth,
ghosts from the quenching slipped up through the rafters;
there was a souring emptiness though I sat entranced
by sacrament and my own minuscule being – when the walls
whispered – Listen! There was no-one. There was nothing.
Even the winds had died. And the chill winterlight
had dimmed. But a tiny chime had happened, vibrated
on my inner listening. The tiniest hint of spittle
tipped against my brow but there was nothing when I wiped
my hand across it. The door moaned again, a sudden breeze
forcing it and I stood, watchful, and shaken. That
was the first semibreve sounded of a gifted music.
I am day and night now, listening. Tuned for it, and waiting.