Munras, Pearl & Tyler


A narrative poem

BBC World Service presenter Zina Rohan reads an extract

Munras, Pearl & Tyler is a half-fictionalised commentary on the affair between the poets George Barker and Elizabeth Smart. Both writers published separate accounts of their relationship: on one side, an out-of-print novel ‘The Dead Seagull’ and on the other a highly acclaimed novella, ‘By Grand Central Station I Sat Down And Wept’. This poem does not set out to reconcile these opposing voices but steps back from the tempestuous encounter and offers a chorus to it.

…This is a story of silver
not of betrayal, but of surrender
this is the story of coming second

of snaking coastal roads that throw
skin and loneliness to the water
and surf and spray and tangle

and three points
three points
on a triangle…

This work is also in development as: