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14x21 cm, 20 pages, 250 gsm "Natural" Strata card cover with colour illustration, black endpapers, hand sewn with red twist.  

ISBN 1 903090 39 3  

Ordering Information

The cover illustration is by Brendan Campbell.

Say 'Ah'
The Cold
Virginia Creeper
A Backward Glance

See below for biographical notes and extract.


Biographical Notes

Caitríona O'Reilly was born in Dublin in 1973, and lives in Wicklow. She studied at Trinity College Dublin, where she wrote a doctoral thesis on American literature. Her poems, reviews and critical essays have appeared in many magazines. Her first collection is The Nowhere Birds (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Bloodaxe Books, 2001).

David Wheatley was born in Dublin in 1970. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, where he edited Icarus and College Green. He won the Friends Provident (Irish) National Poetry Competition in 1994; his poems essays and reviews have appeared in numerous journals. His collections are Thirst (Loughcrew, The Gallery Press, 1997), which won The Rooney Prize in 1998; and Misery Hill (The Gallery Press, 2000). With Justin Quinn, he edits the magazine Metre. He currently lives in the UK.

from Three-Legged-Dog


Diamonds are this girl's
best friend, one beaming
from her midriff 
its fashion statement rife
in this twin town of Freetown, 
Sierra Leone.
Children of Freetown,
diamond town,
your cries on a loop 
in the slave museum:  
shine as it will 
the beam in my eye 
refracts through a dark
more dazzling still. 
Disarmingly so, 
children of Freetown,
stump town: 
forgive us the hands
that give to collectors,
forgive us who do
and do not know better,
the jeweller's shop 
where the belly-pierced girl 
will stop to look,
the stone in her navel 
a harmless fake
dazzling its
transparent rebuke  
as I follow her down
Freetown way 
her vanishing form
a mote in my eye 

Virginia Creeper

Whether or not someone lives in the Virginia creeper house is anyone's guess. Creeper has choked the terrace-end wall, the roof and most of the fašade, including at least three of the four windows on any given day. By this I mean that the house is not entirely sealed off, since doors and wallpaper have been glimpsed (fleetingly) over the years, so at least one of the windows must allow some hospitality to the curious passer-by's gaze. But which one it is and whether it is the same one each time I couldn't say with any great confidence. The back of the house and the garden are shameful - not that anyone has been down there any time lately. The glass in the front door reverts to clapboard panel by panel, with only the top sliver left these days and behind it a light bulb lit through all the hours of daylight in even the sunniest weather. This I take as evidence against the slender case it presents for human habitation. Wouldn't you say? I wonder. I think of the fantastic secrets or fantastic banality, as the case may be, of the Virginia creeper house. I ponder the tens of thousands of furry hooks probing, loosening, slowly destroying its brickwork, and the ruin they must ultimately bring. I meditate on the brief, livid, incendiary red that autumn promises and the mortifications of the winter to follow. I celebrate the unknowability of our lives, even to ourselves, and scowl resentfully (but well out of view) at the latest ignorant pedestrian to stop on the pavement outside, think about setting the dogs on him or raining the bedpan down on his head, but no, not this time, not ever, I go to sleep with the light on again thankful for another day in the Virginia creeper house.


Lying in bed, the light at that angle
and the outline of leaves white hot
against the window-top,
it suddenly swims into sight
like a snaggle-toothed sea-beast

submerged until now,
jellied eel in my vitreous humour.
It could be a crayon scrawl
high on the wall were it not
for those snake-tongue darts

and feints it makes as my eye flicks,
frantic to catch itself up.
What vandal took a steel nib
to the windscreen? I dangle it
in space like a puppet,

watching it creakily shift
its nodes and joints. Caduceus
telluric snake on a stick
casting off the dull cells
from its refractive coat,

littering the bottom of my eye
with a pile of minus signs,
a nest of hair, a lug-bed
or caddis-case from which 
(invisibly) some fast thing fled.