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Bateau sur la mer

Bateau sur la mer

A year ago, Domhnall Mac Síthigh (Danny Sheehy), died tragically in a boating accident off the coast of Portugal. We went to visit our great friend Maire Uí Ghráda, Danny’s widow. In the course of the visit, she brought us around her local area, Baile Eaglaise, and I got my first swim in the Atlantic in over 30 years. It was a wonderful time for all of us in the course of which this poem came in, as it were. I am grateful to Máire for the help she gave me correcting my very poor Irish, but in saying that I am glad to be having a go at it again after all these years. It connects me to a deeper part of myself for which I am grateful. 

A Sudden Bend in the Road

A sight I have not seen for years

two dogs drive cattle along

marshalled to the side

kept out of harm

from passing cars

on the narrow winding bóithrín*

controlled with military precision

by the lean rapidly leaping canines

An mbeidh báisteach amárach

a dúirt sí ón ngluaisteán

ní bheidh ar seisean.

bhfuel ní bheidh tú díomhaoin

tá a lán le déanamh

is fíor é, slán go fóill**


We moved slowly past

the narrow line in tight


I am back in Baile Eaglaise

back in time

back to my own roots

a place I have missed

almost my whole life

back to the core of me

those cúpla focal as Gaeilge***

rock me into the steadiness

of who I am

fear cathrach Gaelach

mo shaol go hiomlán i mBéarla

is ganntanas é seo****

Peadar Ó Chleirigh

July 2018

*a small track of a road

**Will it rain tomorrow

she asked from the car

it won’t he replied

well you won’t be idle

there is a lot to do

that’s true goodbye

***a few words of Irish

****a city Irishman

reared entirely through English

and that’s a loss


Sue Phillips

23.07.2018 19:19

Lovely Peter. I especially like the Gratitude poem but of course mostly the New Friend. Dogs are our great teachers, always in the moment and experts at unconditional positive regard.

Máire Uí Shíthigh

10.07.2018 07:21

Is maith liom an dán Peter. Lá dár saol.

Tom Dredge

04.07.2018 21:49

Fair play Peter. Is maith liom é. Tá orm níos mó Gaielge a fhoghlaim.


04.07.2018 09:30

Go h-álainn! Bhí mé ag caoineadh. Grá, Clíodhna

Daithi Wyse.

03.07.2018 22:32

I love it Peter. Beautiful capture of a moment in time, a longing chun cónai as gaeilge.
Maith an fear.😉

Latest comments

25.11 | 22:15

Grief is experience through the mundane. Simple but powerful. The accompanying image really compliments the poem.

07.11 | 11:14

Hi Peter,

A great observation! Social media can be a scary place... I also need to reduce my time there



06.11 | 16:24

A great one, Peter, in the context you describe. I don't read social media myself, I doubt my equilibrium could stand it. 'The balance of his mind disturbed' yes, I think it would be.

06.11 | 15:59

Yes, gossip is a weapon of mass destruction.

In my business as well as personal life I have zero tolerance.

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And What About . . .


I have neglected this for far too long, and now it is time again. But what to write about, what poem to share? The world is packed with catastrophic possibilities. Such choices: dementia/genocide colluder or extreme narcissism in the White House; a hung parliament in the UK; the reunification of the USSR with a tyrannical megalomaniac at its head; the eradication of a race by a genocidal government in Gaza; the African continent reduced to bankruptcy and regression to male tribalism; in Ireland, even with an appalling electoral turnout the routing of the far right and Sinn Féin may offer some comfort except we face another FF/FG fiasco. Mother Nature rumbles on its rampage, raging against the human species’ abject destruction of the planet’s habitat. What the . . .

Being facetious right now is my only defence against absolute despair. So read, comment, pass it on, and send feedback.

City Walking and Cycling take 680,000

cars per day off the road

Irish Time Heading

More and more folk, cycling and walking, may 

keep gases from greenhouses further at bay

This newspaper heading illustrates vividly

thousands of cyclists and walkers assiduously 

stopping some cars on their journey

pushing them aside - making drivers quite surly

Mountains of metal - like scrapyards of sculpture

keep bicycle lanes quite safe - at this juncture

The new revolution is well underway

don’t get behind wheels - hear what they say:

Cars and their fumes play a very big part 

the smell is quite phew don’t mention cow farts

Wear out your shoe leather walking

greet travellers with smiles while you’re talking

Force councils to make better spaces

to go out and about roaming those places

where vitamin D, and oxygen from trees

fill our lungs and our brains so we see

how to save us and this magical planet

except for some vicious old tyrants goddammit 

Peter Clarke, 18th March 2024

Haydée Otero