Storm at Nice, 1919

Henri Matisse, Matisse Museum

Quel Surprise


A calm Mediterranean

blew itself up suddenly.


A barnacled memory

of its former territories 

broke loose.


It rose three metres

above itself in torrential fury,

bashed the beach,

pounded the promenade,

heaped fifty cars on top of themselves.


Swallowed four luxury

yachts, spat them back

onto the wrecked shore.


Drowned five inveterate

year-round swimmers.


Carried off six

plage bistros,

all their furniture

and hundreds of cases

of champagne.


It reshaped the landscape

of the bay.


Peter Clarke

Revised 26th July 2023

A Synchronicity


Having got over the shock of learning to put up a page all over again, I considered that I should do it soon to reinforce the learning. So here goes.

In 1919, Henri Matisse painted a storm scene in Nice, where he was living at the time, and this painting is part of the exhibition in the Matisse museum this summer. When I saw it, it put me in mind of a piece I wrote some years ago. So here are both pieces. It is exceptionally arrogant of me to have a poem of mine in the same space as a Matisse. Nevertheless!! They also seem pertinent this year because of the current dramatic weather conditions. It cannot be possible to ignore any longer, but maybe that is just what will happen until it is too late.   

As usual enjoy and comment. It is not possible to put comments up on the page but you can click on the email address and send me your feedback. I welcome it all.

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