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Martina Evans
Martina Evans

Martina Evans is a poet, novelist and teacher and is the author of ten books of prose and poetry. Her first novel, Midnight Feast, won a Betty Trask Award in 1995 and her third novel, No Drinking No Dancing No Doctors (Bloomsbury, 2000), won an Arts Council England Award in 1999. Her fourth poetry collection, Facing the Public was published by Anvil Press in September 2009 and has won bursary awards from both the Irish Arts Council (An Chomhairle Eiraíon) and Arts Council England. Facing the Public was a TLS Book of the Year in 2009 and won the Premio Ciampi International Prize for Poetry in 2011. Petrol, a prose poem won a Grants for the Arts Award in 2010 and was published by Anvil Press in 2012. Midnight Feast and Through The Glass Mountain, a new prose poem, were published by Bloom Books in 2013.

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Martina Evans Poetry

My Darling Clementine


I never fail to see Daddy’s hands

every time I watch My Darling Clementine

and this is often, as I love that film.

It’s the point where Wyatt and Doc

might fight – first there’s the whiskey

that Doc Holliday sends shooting down

the shining bar counter with the back

of his hand, followed by

a forty five sliding up

from Brother Morg and sent sliding

down again before Doc and Wyatt

make their peace over champagne

and the whole room breathes

as men move back to the bar,

the conductor clicks his fingers and the Mexican

band starts to play. I

think of the story of Daddy suddenly angry

one night

he had enough

and refused to be pacified with a drink

which he sent flying down

the Formica like Doc

with the back of his hand and that was

a funny anecdote to be told afterwards

the dramatic gesture so unlike him and I

think of his swollen crooked fingers and how

he was almost always powerless. I am sure that

no one was afraid for his life, if there

was a band, no way had it stopped playing

and the cowboys were drinking steadily

at the counter.

Daddy was more like Mack standing behind the bar

when Fonda asks, Have you ever been in love?

the small deferential bald head answers


No, I’ve been a bartender all my life.



This poem was first published in The Lampeter Review.


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