Melancholia by Nina Quigley


Nina Quigley is a poet, writer and visual artist who lives in Inishowen, Co. Donegal.

Melancholia was published by Three Dancing Oaks Publishing in 2023.

Here are a few poems from the collection that I particularly enjoyed:

That Thing With Feathers

A woman, with distance in her eyes,
a porcelain reticence in her cheeks,
heard a door closing somewhere,
softly in her life, and flew to London

on business, but pleasure came,
in the form of an Englishman,
a man of affairs. There was a start
between them and soon a stop

when he took himself off to Japan
in chase of the dollar and the yen.
Saddened, lost, home she came to Dublin,
her choices suddenly shrinking in her hands,

and found herself one day a guest
at a wedding, met a man, a northerner
with a life in academia and cyberspace.
There was a start between them

and soon almost a stop, when he flew away
to a conference in Japan, land of lost lovers,
courtesy and winter snows. He lost himself there
in high-speed trains, made no sense

of timetables and signs. Came home puzzled,
and she was waiting, trimming her lamp of hope.
Today a small boy owns her opal gaze,
and makes good sense of his one plus two.

Summer Turns

Summer turns its face from her
She grows thin, disconnects.
Soon only the shy sting
of sea grass holds her.

She drifts out of radio contact,
lies for hours on her back
in the dunes,
eyes full of clouds.

She grows minimal,
universe reduced
to the jut of her knee,
a slice of bicycle wheel,

the play of wind
and peek-a-boo sun.
Beyond her vision,
the hot blue pulse

of the ocean withdraws.
She’s orphaned
by the year’s long heave
back from the centre.


Under a fleece of cloud
there’s nurture and the greening.

The well of winter empties
into the broad lake of morning.

February unravels, and there’s and end
to absence. You can taste hope

and quiet in the mothering sky,
the year’s wheel wpinning into plenty.

Buy the collection

The book costs £10 (plus postage) and can be purchased from Nina Quigley, Manse, Knowhead, Muff, Co Donegal, F93 P3K7.

Her new book ‘Working for the Mafia – a Bipolar Experience’ can be purchased for the same price.

Across the Waters – 29th International James Joyce Symposium 14-19 June 2024 University of Glasgow
The Nancy Smillie Shop – Glasgow West End

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