All copyright © 2003 remains with the authors.
All copyright © 2004 remains with the authors.

Nessa O'Mahony

It takes
the whole day;
an oh so slow
opening up,
green shoots
yellow stays,
narrow stems
the weight
of corona.

towards light,
forced choice
between rain-lashed
spattered glass
and a source
closer to home.
They turn,
opening full lips
to lamp light.

Nessa O'Mahony
Beaumaris, Anglesey, North Wales, 11 February 2004


Picture a window, small, square,
lattice-striped, set high
in a slanted stone wall.
Picture a child's face
caught in the edge of shadow,
staring out each night,
waiting for day
to bring an end to it.

She wears offwhite,
her gown unchanged;
she's not sure how long
she's worn it, nor when she heard
her mother's voice last.
Sometimes she thinks
she might still be sleeping.

The street is empty,
not even a dog passes, nose down.
The wind blows smoke;
there's a tinge of brown in it
and when she sniffs the air,
she thinks she can smell
the opposite of hunger.

Not that she eats.
There's a weight against the door
she cannot hope to move.
So she stares out
at oaks silhouetting
the Minster.

she thinks she sees spirits;
crowds passing, looking up, curious.
But they dissolve as the rain falls
and there's nothing
but a crumpled leaf
sweeping the pavement.

A puddle reflects
her face, reflects
the moon:
there's no difference.

Nessa O'Mahoney
Beaumaris, North Wales 5.15pm


goose egg

Breakfast, Beaumaris, 24th March 2004

Its weight amazes,
bulk filling my palm
as I cradle it
the treacherous six inches
to the countertop.
Unwrapped with reverence
from the kitchen towel
the carboot lady swathed it in.
A pencilled date -
15/3/04 -
unleashes anxieties
but we've sealed our fates.

So I crack and crack
until a breach appears, fissure-thin,
spurring me on
until it finally splits.
A few gelatinous drops
clear the way
for a huge smug globe
on the base of the pan.
The whisk stutters,
unused to resistence
as I turn up the heat.
Desultory bubbles -
this bird takes it time.

Is it done?
I turn the saffron porridge
on my plate,
take the first mouthful,
chew and taste.

is everything.

Nessa O'Mahony


Harbinger Elsewhere, it's swallows.
Here, we watch the water
for the first yachts,
filing a course through the Straits,
leaning against the wind,
testing sails that haven't been
unfurled for months.

I follow each boat
through the span
of my bay window,
imagine the rest,
the progress past the pier,
white cloth reflected
in each pane of glass
of the seafront terrace
as it curves its way
towards Penmon and the light.

A second has appeared,
tied up unseen over night,
It circles on its moorings
as the wind shifts.

Beaumaris, April 7th 2004
Nessa O'Mahony


Bloomsday 2004

Not snot-green, today,
and sixty miles away
though if I close my eyes
I can reel
a straight line
to link this
seaside Britishness
of strolls and ice-cream cones
and white-haired revellers
with Martello towers,
stiff winds,
unpulchritudinous flesh
Is that where buck-naked
was born?
But never travelled,

Nessa O'Mahony
Beaumaris, 16 June 2004


Poetryetc is a listserv relating to poetry and poetics which provides a forum for poets to debate their critical and creative work. The list has over the years run a number of projects for its members, of which Snapshots has been the most enduring.

Every Wednesday, Poetryetc members were invited to post short poems on any subject or in any form they chose. The idea was to make a poetic collage of instamatic “snaps” of that day that reflected the international membership of the list. The project has generated an astounding number of poems.

The first two runs, of six weeks each, and the first ten weeks of the third run, are archived at Wild Honey Press under Poetryetc Project. The rest - amounting in all to a run of a year - are archived here.

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To contact the listowner: Alison Croggon

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