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John F. Deane

John F. Deane was born on Achill Island in 1943. He is the author of several poetry collections and also writes short stories and novels. He has translated several books of poetry from French, Romanian and Swedish.

His many awards include:
2007 — Chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France)
2003 — T. S. Eliot Prize
2001 — Marten Toonder Award for Literature
2000 — Grand International Prize for Poetry (Romania)
1998 — O’Shaughnessy Award for Irish Poetry

His books of fiction include the recent short story collection, The Heather Fields and other stories (2007), and the novels Undertow (2002) and Where No Storms Come (2010). He is also the author of three collections of essays about religious poetry: In Dogged Loyalty (2006); From the Marrow Bone (2008); and The Works of Love (2010).

John F. Deane is the founder of Dedalus Press, and was editor there until 2004. He also founded Poetry Ireland and Poetry Ireland Review in 1979. He was elected Secretary-General of the European Academy of Poetry in 1996 and President in 2008. In April 2012, John F. Deane was Distinguished Visiting Professor in Suffolk University, Boston, USA. He is a member of Aosdána, and lives in Dublin.

In 2015 his memoir Give Dust a Tongue was published by Columba Press Dublin and a new collection of poetry Semibreve was published by Carcanet Press. (British Council | Literature)

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John F. Deane is a brand new poet to me. I ran across this poem and found it fascinating. Honestly I’m not sure about the ending of it. What happened to her? Did she come back home? Did she do away with herself (the third stanza)? If you have an interpretation, please feel free to leave it in the comment section. I’d love to hear it.

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On a dark night
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When all the street was hushed, you crept
Out of our bed and down the carpeted stair.
I stirred, unknowing that some light
Within you had gone out, and still I slept
As if out of the dark air

Of night, some call
Drew you, you moved in the silent street
Where cars were white in frost. Beyond the gate
You were your shadow on a garage-wall.
Mud on our laneway touched your naked feet.
The dying elms of our estate

Became your bower
And on your neck the chilling airs
Moved freely. I was not there when you kept
Such a hopeless tryst. At this most silent hour
You walked distracted with your heavy cares
On a dark night while I slept.

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