Nessa O’Mahony – Homestead

Profile Nessa O Mahony LE Mag July 2019

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Homestead, poems by Nessa O’Mahony

Nessa O’Mahony was born in Dublin and lives there. She won the National Women’s Poetry Competition was shortlisted for the Patrick Kavanagh Prize and Hennessy Literature Awards. 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 and the Island was published by Salmon Poetry in 2019. Her first work of historic crime fiction, The Branchman, was published by Arlen House in 2018. Details of her latest poetry collection, The Hollow Woman on the Island, can be found here:


Nine windows,
one door,
the corridor veins
through its heart
from kitchen to bed
to parlour.

The builders
knew the value
of rooves,of walls,
of something to eat
other than grass.

Was that the clue
to survival on a road
that slopes seawards?

Collies at each bend
bark a threat.
Watch the tail,
tell the true intention
of the road that curves

Up the hill, lazy-beds
speak of former settlers.
Grass coats walls
that made good
neighbours once.

Electricity sizzles
through lines
that give starlings
pause for thought.

Look away
and it’s gone
as a ghost laughs.


They held a party
and all the poets came,
names writ not on water
but a gilt-edged A-list.
Pointless to look for yours
with all that air-kissing,
back-stabbing, rapping
disguised as slapping.
Afterwards, they took a bus
to some unmapped location
where the drinks were freer,
the reviews unread.

Road Trip

for Tess Gallagher

We got what we wanted, even so,
despite the sat nav’s best intentions;
the narrows, bends and swerves
mapped your cadences better,
tapped the rise and fall of chatter
about people you knew,
people I’d only read about.
A rainbow clipped the bonnet
passing Glencar Falls, a lark soared,
granite villages emerged from dips
so we paused to consider options;
the bog road seeming longer,
the lake switching sides
the closer we got to the drop-off,
to friends to be beloved.

© Nessa O’Mahony