Poetry by Nina Quigley

After a recent visit to Ireland I was reading and enjoying Nina Quigley's poetry. I liked it so much that I asked her if I could put some of her poems up on the site.
Pat Byrne, February, 2009.

Nina Quigley

Nina Quigley was born in Newtownards, County Down in 1946. She grew up in England and has lived in Malta and Germany. She studied German and Drama at the University of Hull and has worked as a college lecturer and librarian.

A member of the Shy Wolf Writers, based in Derry and Donegal, she has been living in Inishowen, Co Donegal for many years. Her work has been widely published and has won numerous prizes. She was selected to read at Poetry Ireland's Introductions Series for newly-emerging poets in 2001. Her first collection, 'Legacy' was published by Lapwing Publications in 2001.

Of Italian-Irish parentage, she speaks several languages, and is married with three daughters and four grandchildren.

April, 2009


In tidewater to my chin,
I step on swallowed sand.
Light fades,
A ghost sun bleeds
Into the western sky.

I scout the silk line,
The border between two worlds.
Salted and sucked
By dimpled indigo,
I trade fingerprints with the ocean.

Darkness fits me,
A second skin.
I make myself slim as butter
On the face of the sea.
Eyes track the cupped sweet fold
Of quiet land.

Nina Quigley

February, 2009


They sail a dark sea,
Nursed by a generous tide
Of black clay.
In a half-sleep,
They pivot forever
At the moment before birth.
Forgotten ghosts,
Touched by the grey wing
Of yesterday's hope.

I think of them there,
Waiting out eternity
In the absence of light,
Following the starless dictates
Of an interior sky.

published in Honest Ulsterman


That first Spring
After you died,
I folded the hurt
With my jumpers
And smuggled you through customs -
Nothing to declare.

I walked my grief
Through the streets of Madrid
Bright with rain,
Listened for the soft gasp
Of water falling from the sky.

In the underground
Trains emptied and filled,
People exchanged geographies
Without regret.

My inner geography
Was all blown to hell.
You were at the hub of me,
I carried you in my cells -
Your death, the nub of me.

In my pocket I thumbed
A shell from a northern sea,
Discovered your skin again
In its silky dome.

I left us on a park bench,
Watching a small bird
Sing in the sun
And walked back through Heathrow
With nothing to declare.

Nina Quigley

From her first collection "Legacy", 2001.
Published by Lapwing Publications, Belfast.

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