Decoding Samara titles a stunning new collection of poems by Dublin-based Galway poet, Patrick Deeley.  Unlike its predecessor, ‘Turane’, with its laser-like focus on the village as microcosm, this book spreads its poetic wings and exploits myth and legend in a way that places its author in the select company of Yeats while gladly remaining accessible to the reader.  His sustained, subtle use of tree imagery throughout makes for a thematic unity that is resourcefully matched by his diverse interpretations of same.
If the poems have a pastoral flavour they are as much statements about ‘rus in urbs’ as about nature in the wild, as Rathgar Pastoral and Flood River (Dodder) affirm.  The clash of pagan and Christian beliefs is brilliantly underpinned.  Similarly, the interplay of functional and reverential, of science and superstition, is articulated with sensitivity but without sentimentality.  The workshop that takes its toll on the woods – refuge of dryads – is an essential part of the creative-cum-survival scheme of things.
Tragic death (of his father) and love, receive poignant treatment in Red Sash and in Baile and Aillinn.  A big hit with pupils will be the poem about the itinerant who has “roads, not books, to travel”.
In a culture of ecological gloom, Deeley’s poetry is a salutary breath of optimism that will give fresh impetus to the environmental crusades conducted daily in the classroom: “Nature is the decapitated dragon which yet again will regenerate.”  Confronted by its awesome panoply of myths, legends and gifts, the author wisely commends it “for our silence, our eyes”.
The lyric format, coupled with a deft internal rhyming system, makes for poems that resonate with a music that is spellbinding while achieving a language that is rarely equalled in contemporary poetry.
 
 

    
© Patrick Deeley 2013. All rights reserved.