Nina Quigley

Nina Quigley lives in Inishowen, Co Donegal, and writes poetry and fiction. Her work has been widely published (PIR, HU, Force 10, the Moth,) and won prizes, (Feile Filiochta, Charles Macklin Autumn School, Feile Chathal Bui.)  Her poetry pamphlet “Legacy” was published  by Lapwing Publications in 2001.  She read at Poetry Ireland’s Introductions Series and the Earagail Arts Festival. She read her story “Episode” at a recent tenx9 event. She writes predominantly in English, but has won prizes for poems in Irish, Spanish and Italian. She is also a visual and performance artist, and exhibits and performs regularly with the Bbeyond Performance Art Collective in Derry and Belfast and at Artlink, Dunree.


for Paul at Rivermill

We sit, simple in the sun
and watch the work of bees 
where cattle come to drink 

and share their effortless 
muddy ease. A jagged stone pillar 
snaps at nothing but gloom, 

and a broad field smiles 
into afternoon. Overhead ash leaves
hand us a bridge of stars, 

and a blackbird hops
out of a bed of flowers. 
Life’s blue muddle spins 

with shadow and play, 
and we spill ourselves
easy into the forgiving day.


In your mind the boy 
becomes the seal, becomes the boy
who reaches into your heart
with his unfinished hand.

Who walks about and waddles
and rocks his helmeted head
and talks to you about books
about volcanoes. The boy 

who comes with a special helper,
who needs no special help to read,
who reads about volcanoes,
who takes a taxi to the pool

when the class goes swimming.
A small seal brother, who swims 
into your consciousness 
with all the playfulness of water. 

A fluid elemental talking boy 
who’s there and then who isn’t.


A displaced person, 
you fall from a great height 
into our tame and tawdry lives. 

Briefly fussed-over, mountain-wild, 
you watch us, and the overheated 
room tastes the breath of snowflakes, 

cold nights under the naked stars. 
The twelve days of Christmas slip 
slowly by to the tip-tap of needles 

sliding inexorably to the floor. Till 
the sixth of January finds me struggling 
to perform a sad eviction. Shedding spines, 

you fight me tooth and nail, cut me 
in silent outrage, then lie for weeks 
in the back yard, embarrassing the house 

until a sharp February day, when you burn 
with sudden savage brightness 
along with other unwanted things.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.