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.