Endings Beginnings

New Poetry Library, Manchester Metropolitan University

New Poetry Library, Manchester Metropolitan University

It is finally done, almost two and a half years, overall !!! The work for a Masters’ Degree in Poetry has ended. My submission for the final dissertation has been dropped into the electronic box. There is just the waiting for results and feedback.

I have a hollow feeling inside like something is gone and there is nothing to replace it. I have made lists of things to be getting on with, but the only thing I do is rewrite them again and again.

I know in my head that there needs to be an ending and then a new beginning, but another part of me is trying to fill the void. I want to get on with writing but it won’t come. I have started walking 7-8 kilometres a day which is good for me but it tires me so I don’t have the energy for the writing even if I did have something to write about. And I have questions. Is this the end of the beginning, or the beginning of the end? Have I no more writing left in me? I have done all this learning and for what?

I do know that I could never write to order. It doesn’t work like that for me. I include the poem below that I wrote during one of my many starings at the wall moments early on in the course. It resonates with what I’m feeling now.

The building in the photograph is the new Poetry Library in Manchester Metropolitan University. I had hoped that it would have been open in time for me to have one semester studying there, but events overtook it.

I can say that I have loved every minute of my time, every panic, every deadline, every staring like a rabbit in the headlights on the course. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. It was a brilliant way to start retirement from paid work.

swirling in the mist of words

drained, strained, almost in despair

I sit engulfed in poems along four walls

nothing comes from the inside,

the inner well of words has evaporated

the radio riffs a lively

jazz tune syncopated on vibraphone

that is all I can say now

a line will not make itself known

Peter Clarke 2019


Colm O

29.04.2021 19:59

Brought a smile to my face to receive your mail with it's invitation to explore your world and how you navigate through it. A lovely way to meet Dora.


05.04.2021 21:55

Er is a word for light ‘pon
Where a gourd might sit ‘pon
E’en a lake
Behest a colon

Maz Green

30.03.2021 07:56

I get it. I know that hollow feeling, having recently finished my memoir and sent it off and felt exactly the same. Soon it will return, I'm sure.

Bríd Brophy

18.03.2021 09:22

Wooho Peter very well done. This is an amazing achievement. Yes a brilliant way to start retirement from paid work.

Jane O'Hanlon

10.03.2021 15:57

Well done Peter and yes there is always that inevitable anticlimax after such an intense period. Enjoy all of it - even that sense of an ending!

Kate O'Neill

10.03.2021 10:54

Just continue to put one foot in front of the other and you will end up astonishing the gods. Congratulations on your amazing achievement

Marguerite Colgan

09.03.2021 08:50

Congrats Peter on taking on this mountain climb, walking it, it's rocks and green reaching the summit and all the time Sharing with us. Looking forward to your book.

Eithne Hand

08.03.2021 13:11

Send me your email and I'll pop it across to you !

Eithne Hand

08.03.2021 13:11

Hi Peter ! I was tidying at the weekend and found a page advertising the reading from our Catherine Phil McCarthy's Poetry Workshop - on International Women's Day 2008 !


07.03.2021 22:50

Paid retirement is not so bad..
Don't forget we are just fireflies


07.03.2021 20:49

Knowing you it will come flooding back


07.03.2021 20:07

Even in despair and emptiness you are great. Love!

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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