Nessa O’Mahony – The Lovers of Ardoo

P Nessa Mahony LE P&W Vol 1 2019

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Poem 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:

The Lovers of Ardoo

They might have thought it safe,
this final resting place
of vaults and white angels.
The padlocks were strong,
no thought of axe, of picks
or jemmys that could force
attentions upon them.

She couldn’t know the reward
for all that waiting
would be a broken latch,
a bramble scratch, a road
built to bring daytrippers
cutting the tomb off
from their castellated home.

A glimpse through the grill
shows coffins like sardine cans,
lead lids rolled back
by fortune-seekers.
Only the voyeurs look for bone.

Still, you can read the stone
the angel stands upon,
recoup all that lost love,
the faith in eternity
should you take the trouble
to climb the slope,
let nettles do their worst.

© Nessa O’Mahony