Poetry by Nicholas Murray


On The Great Western, Mnemonic and Pink Gin


On The Great Western

Her phone, a lozenge of light,
frames the face of a boy
that is contorted with tears.
His small eyes are tightly closed
as if to squeeze out more drops.

I’ve told him I’m not interested.
But he is interested
as those tears authenticate,
their abundance speaking
of the terrible unfairness of love.



I lift the brass bell:
a woman in full skirt,
in whose folds
a black stain lingers
after my diligent steel wool
has scoured time’s tarnish.

Holding her head
between finger and thumb,
letting her swing,
I hear a sweet tinkle
under her skirts,
but who am I calling?

From my mother I accept
this not-quite-heirloom,
for she has moved away
from the burden of things
having no need, in her late days,
for the clutter and echo of stuff.


Pink Gin

Bored stiff, we attend
to the first lesson:
a swirl of bitters, smartly

A trickle of gin
from the optic’s squeeze,
clatter of new ice
from the shovelled bucket.

We are well tutored:
the genteel English drunk,
red-faced and far from home,
stops in his tracks

when the red-haired boy
from Galway
tries out bartender’s talk:
‘You know what’s good for you.’

Bitter and unsteady,
he straightens up,
with a sigh:
‘Far from it, young man.’