Nessa O’Mahony – Classroom

Mahony LE P&W 4 Nov-Dec 2023

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14th Anniversary Edition, Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Four Nov-Dec 2023.

Classroom, poem by Nessa Mahony.


Bishop Galvin Primary School, 1995
i.m. Larry O’Loughlin

I’ll keep this simple and true,
as you liked your poetry.
Eight of us in a school room
perched on wooden chairs
too small for us, in a ring
surrounded by rainbow walls
with smiley faces and unicorns.
We each took our turn,
shyly turning a page
in our brand new notebooks,
trying out phrases,
startled by what we’d only heard
in our heads before.

Then introductions
to our characters:
yukky princes and Ella’s boy,
a house with green shutters,
a Kerry policeman keeping peace
when we disagreed over syllables.
Every so often a nod,
an appreciative murmur,
or a pause, gentle but clear
there was a better way
to say what we wanted.

That circle grew,
the rooms got larger, louder,
the chairs configured
in other shapes and sizes.
And we each cheered
when another stood up,
took the stage, a podium,
the teacher’s spot
at the front of a rapt class.
Murmured our praise,
then shouted it to roof-tops.

© Nessa Mahony

Nessa O’Mahony was born in Dublin and lives there. She has published five books of poetry – Bar Talk, (1999), Trapping a Ghost (2005), In Sight of Home (2009) and Her Father’s Daughter (2014). The Hollow Woman on the Island was published by Salmon Poetry in May 2019. She has edited journals and anthologies.

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