Back to School

Untitled by Nariman Farroki 2018

Untitled by Nariman Farroki 2018

Since I last had something to show here, an extraordinary event happened, for me at least. I applied and was accepted into the Manchester Metropolitan University Writing School to do an MA in Creative Writing (Poetry). So here I am writing this post from the Library of MMU. It’s both an exciting and daunting project. The excitement has me like a child in a toy shop, new ideas, new writing and a new space to making my writing my main job. I have chosen to turn up here every Tuesday to do a class. (The fizzle factor of an online course would be too great for me) This will go on for the next two years. My brain is already in overload.
We have a writing workshop every week where we present our work and receive feedback from the class (there are eight of us). In the course of writing and finding new ways of doing things, two of us in the class came across a poetry form called The Ghazal. It is to be found in Arab poetry and especially in Persian. The form is quite structured. So as an experiment, I had a go. That’s what you see on this page.  I hope you enjoy and as usual please read, pass it on and give me some feedback.

On the return to study - a Ghazal

I sit at a desk in a quiet large room, in a return to study. 
My pen roams the line of its own volition, in a return to study.

I listen to scraping of metal along wooden floors, squeaking of
chairs, coughing, sneezing, in all positions, as they return to study.

Across all the space, fingers are tapping, keyboards are clicking, 
shaping thoughts and ideas, on a mission, in a return to study,

to finish a work, to start a new train from an unformed haze
haul into words by the decision to return to study

to capture, to shape, form a piece of fine work that will attract 
applause, win a good grade and fruition, because of return to study.

Through quiet and pain excitement will reign inside of the chest,
word follows word, become ammunition in the return to study.

Until finally sorted, reread and reworded, the manuscript done,
Pierre all bound up in completion, to end the return to study.

Peter Clarke
January 2019


Gina Hayden

22.02.2019 18:28

Peter, fabulous news, very well done.. how exciting!

Máire Sheahan

22.02.2019 16:11

Just saw yourself and Clíodhna on Facebook, Peter. Clicked this link. Congrats and much fun, learning and creativity in Manchester. Loved Ghazal! Máire


10.02.2019 23:34

Congrats on getting accepted Peter, sounds like an amazing opportunity. I kike the look of the Ghazal, must check it out further.

Margaret Dromey

09.02.2019 20:25

Congratulation Peter and I love the Gazal. Well done and look forward to reading much more of your work. Have a ball studying.

Marguerite Colgan

09.02.2019 09:05

Peter, cobbling words brings us into the workshop, all buzz and busy as each creates, ideas caught, fitted into word jigsaw. At the window looking inI catch the excitement. Go Neiri go brea leat,


08.02.2019 21:50

I like the style very much. As Fíona said: in full admiration of your "return to study"!


08.02.2019 17:40

I Love it Peter, and am in full admiration of your 'return to study'....From someone who has been there, done that, I know that palpable feeling of excitement and terror in equal measure!! Congrats!!

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