Poetry: Edward Clarke | Cassandra Voices

Poetry: Edward Clarke


At Rudy’s Bar, Alassio
(After Thomas Hardy)

                       O how could I order that tuna and chips,
                       And sip my beer and gaze at yachts and cruise ships
Beyond the tops of changing booths and beach umbrella tips;

                       And glimpse and catch the sea’s soughing of old truths
                       Through exhaled smoke of bronze Italian youths
And cries of a fat child a made-up plastic granny soothes;

                       And not think of a Romantic poet’s pyre,
                       Or Claude’s Seaport, which Turner set on fire,
Or brine-drenched heroes Neptune saved from Aeolus and Juno’s ire.

                       But I confess it took an old tourist’s poem,
                       And my desire to make his tercets my own,
For me to see this sea transcending our own and Aeneas’ Rome.

                       When we were on our way down here through Nice
                       We saw b-boys do flares, headspins, then freeze.
On Friday nights the promenade is checked by Finance Police.

                       But all the while, at the sandy edge of sight,
                       On feathery legs of old, gods roll from the night,
And we would sense them could we still perform the proper rite.

Feature Image created by Daniele Idini.


About Author

Edward Clarke’s Eighteen Psalms was published by Periplum Poetry in 2018. Clarke’s Psalter, a documentary he presented about making these poems, was broadcast on BBC, Radio 4 in September 2018. He is also the author of two books of criticism, The Vagabond Spirit of Poetry (Iff Books 2014), which makes claims for the efficacy of poetry in our industrialized world, where we are presented with environmental, political and economic challenges, and The Later Affluence of W.B. Yeats and Wallace Stevens (Palgrave Macmillan 2012). He has an MA (Oxon) in English Language and Literature and was awarded a PhD by Trinity College, Dublin, for his work on the American poet, Wallace Stevens, in relation to Shakespeare, Milton, and various Romantic poets. He currently teaches English literature and art and architectural history at Oxford University.

Comments are closed.