Matisse: Les Gourgues

Matisse: Les Gourgues

Daffodil Day

I am reminded this week that I have lived for thirteen years following a diagnosis of cancer in 2006. That is due to medical science and the fact that my sister Helen donated stem cells, which were used for the transplant that saved my life. So my gratitude and appreciation know no bounds. It has enabled me to see my grandchildren arrive and be a source of sheer bliss and delight and to be living in a soon to be more crowded multigenerational household. It has also got me to the point of a Masters in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. This is the icing on the cake.

Over the years, I have been aware of those around me who got cancer diagnoses. On my latest count, thirty-five people that I know have had a diagnosis and six have died. So my gang is running at an 83% survival rate, including me. That’s pretty good going, I think. It prompted the following, so read, enjoy, pass on and let me know what you think:

Another One

Text received:

DM had a malignant tumour

removed from her bile duct

starting chemo in March

The list of friends who join me

gets longer and fuller,

not too many drop off,

surviving is more the norm.

It does mean that we all have new

work to do – manage the damn thing –

support others who are, or are not,

 – campaign for care, because

the system is beyond bursting.

Twelve years on this road, we

stand, sit or crawl at 83 per cent

still standing but mangled.

Peter Clarke

February 2019


triona Mc morrow

20.03.2019 08:00

Great poem, full of energy and positivity. Well done Peter


19.03.2019 23:21

As a fellow survivor.... Good words. Love you. XX

Mary Morrissey

18.03.2019 21:15

Thanks Peter. Really like it. I find it to be hopeful and uplifting.

Marguerite Colgan

18.03.2019 07:52

Well done, the poem is also well done! I like "surviving" last line 2nd verse, active as against "survival". Go Maire tu an chead.

Rosy Wilson

17.03.2019 22:30

Great blog and poem Peter. Your a hero your sister too. Good to see your survival stats. Anna and a family close friend and her daughter are swimming 4 kilometers each for cancer swimathon this month.


17.03.2019 18:49

I echo Pearl - very glad you are still around! xxxx


17.03.2019 18:45

Well done I still remember the curly hair. 10 years now for me xxxx

Maurice C

17.03.2019 17:02

I share the experience, and the sentiments. Ultreia, my friend.

Pearl molloy

17.03.2019 16:42

So glad you are still around

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