celebrating… Life on Earth

Tis September, and autumn marks time for harvest…

Harvesting fruits out of projects – to the poet, tis the moment to celebrate words ripe enough to shine and echo through folk’s hearts…

Months turned in weeks, as Mother Earth waltzes in grace amid the void and songs from stars, light from our Sun reminds of life – from the vegetal to birdsong, September shines and celebrates.

Fleurs de saison, like seeds of life from a planet en route to changes of her own… Let’s reel seasons, as the island sings and flowers – where life as free as flocks of birds comes to da loch to drink or bathe.

Tis that moment I celebrate.

Clumlie Loch shared at WordPlay 2021.

Tis the same that has journeyed from hills and burn (stream) down to the sea to settle among other greats and less known voices in two towns, Lerwick and Edinburgh, through the summer.

Clumlie Loch celebrates wild life – tis where we witness wilderness as important as rainforests or melting ice at either poles… Because it homes essence of life.

Clumlie Loch at the Virtual Exhibition by the the WWF Scotland’s Great Scottish Canvas Initiative, 18-26 Sep ’21 during Climate Fringe.

Today, The Great Scottish Canvas has begun to display it in a virtual exhibition. Such an honour to map Shetland to the greatest of Earth Summits.

It will feature in November among others and other art forms – 45 in total , from 45 Scottish voices, poets, writers, visual artists and sculptors… 45 voices to trigger a beam of hope for life on Earth… Our survival as a species and for our homeworld, natural.

Teeming life at Clumlie Loch, 2021.

Nature, so inspiring, our garden of Eden, we ought to protect at all costs.

Let’s hope and pray, our words and works speak to all world leaders in Glasgow. Like Jackie Kay, Scottish icon as a poet & former Makar – she, the insatiable optimist – I believe in wisdom and future in which children will bloom and grow in a rich world where animals and plant can live.

I feel humbled, honoured and chuffed for Clumlie Loch to feature among Jackie’s and others’ works, blown up on walls to they eyes and hearts of all COP26 participants.

Let’s enjoy Hairst and life on Earth, where our hearts beat.

Ian’s world at Troswick, Sep 2021.

Thank you for life. 🙂

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Announcement 3

Thrilled, humbled and honoured to join in a trio of fine Shetland writers (prose & poetry) to an evening of the spoken word & stories bound by the centenary of George McKay Brown at WordPlay, Scotland’s most northerly book festival.

The writing of the great Stromness man of letters has fashioned and influenced island writing as it has influenced the way we speak and celebrate our Northern Isles and beyond.

Each one of us nestled our work among the celebration of the word through the announcement of winners from the 2021 Young Writers of the Year Awards, the very cradle of Shetland’s future writers.

Writers’ Night is announced as a very special celebration https://tickets.shetlandarts.org/sales/categories/festivals/wordplay-2021/wp21-writers-night

I am very much looking forward to add my humble stone to the edifice .

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Announcement (2)

When one’s love of a great author nestles admiration, her creative spirit and verve on paper to a fabulous collective and ends up in a major literary body of work.

I, the poet, feel humbled by such accolade & participation to the great edifice – brainchild from friend and fellow poet, Makar at our Federation Writers (Scotland) and compagnon d’écriture, Jim Mackintosh, through time.

Together, we celebrate George Mackay Brown’s centenary through a wonderful anthology titled very aptly Beyond the Swelkie now ready to pre-order.

Happy poet and lover of literature!

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Announcement (1)

In such extraordinary and industrious comes a first fruit, which has ripened well.

Now official :

I am very honoured and privileged to map Shetland at COP26 Glasgow through The Great Scottish Canvas this September with the publication for the great event later this autumn, and live reading of my selected poem to our Scottish MSPs as part of Climate Fringe, which will go live in due time.

I am very humbled this poem, very close to my heart, is journeying in so many directions so far. Shortlisting it at such level was so unexpected. Tis also voice recorded for the purpose of the exhibition. Happy poet. 🙂

More to come!

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Reconnected

Water to the Atlantic, Waas, Westside.

So much water run through da burn (stream) down to the sea and the ocean, gushing, flowing through da burra, hedder (heather) an paets (peat/turf) keeping us lush beyond nightless nights, Simmer Dim, our eclipsed stars for a moment.

The island has recovered its magical colour palette, Van Gogh luminous style. Through May and June, yellow dominated our roadsides, anchored on water (like Marygold) or mires…

Hues of pink, shades of our Earth preceded white, blotching the greens of our meadows. Delicate petals decorate the narrowness of the landscape; and yet homing our seasonal opera house to the delight of wanderers.

Tis a privilege to listen.

Our ground nesters braved continents, gales, rain and hail to duplicate love in their genes . They picked ancestral patches of peatland, brae (hillside) or grass where they disappear until July…

And yet summer feels short for us all on the island, humans and avifauna.

Banks’ broos (cliffs) lochs an lochans (lakes, big and small) have been teeming with life too, as parenthood fledged around irises or thrift and sea mayweed.

A privilege to hear them call, or watch them so vulnerable. Our headlands turn operatic till mid-July.

And already, in this season of abundance, da hairst (harvest) has begun, as silage tumbled and wrapped for da winter.

We, islanders on such northern latitude, are privileged with a single hundred days of crop growth in open ground. Silage cut offers open air restaurants to both local and migrating birds from all around the boreal region. Our position in the ocean remains pivotal in their survival for the great trek back south.

Preparing for winter whilst sharing with nature.

And until night returns and we veer back towards the autumn equinox, tis a window of teeming life and overgrowth, on the land, on beaches where colours thrive; inside our wicks an voes (wide and narrow inlets of sea) wildlife flourishes and flows.

Tis simply magic!

Now I am fully reconnected with it all.

And wishing you, each and everyone, a wonderful summer fae 60N!

Namaste 🥰🌍✨

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Summer

Summer '21: reconnected with my world 🌍✨

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shenanigans

There are moments when we just need to step back and dream…

Step back and sleep, dream in the arms of the dragon. April the joker, the trickster, that turned the island back to ice.

Our spring buds deprived of sap, light and that warmth, had to yield to the wrath, shenanigans from a planet déboussolée…

Even Saoirse the Cat had to give in to da bliind moorie -a violent snow storm – that engulfed us in its millions of horizontal icicles.

I’m pretty sure she dreamt of bees and bugs she loves so much to play with… She looks a meerkat on her back limbs. So comical at times.

I was dreaming of summer.

Voar – our springtime – is a season to respect. As Mother Earth turns generous once more, life in all its forms begins again. The island back in a sky filled with birdsong – oystercatchers, curlews, skylarks and snipes to name but a few… We seed to harvest and yet we are aware of its harshness.

In their life-driven waves, our seabirds feel magnetised to our cliffs. Guillemots, razorbills and puffins had to battle a polar flying gale to reconvene in our boreal world.

April still clawed by cold air.

And yet nature is resilient. From daffodils to primroses, from Skylarks to Meadow Pipits or Northern Wheatears, wir voar means life.

On and around the island, magic occurs. Last weekend alone was graced by a pod of orcas on Saturday followed by a showcase of wir tammie nories (that delightful local name for our Atlantic Puffins) at sundown.

Magical.

It does not take much to tear down preconceived ideas and marvel at the diversity of life. The trick being to open our eyes and heart, and feel part of it.

Life is everywhere: in the wild, in cities – Mother Nature finds her ways in the most incredible places, from a stone wall to the great depths of our oceans…

We are all guests on our planet, that has a twin, so different.

Now, the following piece of verse is all about our Earth’s sister.

Planet Walk (Venus) 


YOU ARE HERE,

between
Mercury and my world,
one grain of
sand on a lone beach,
in easy reach to
solar winds, rotating eye around
stardust;
you, Earth’s
sister,
encased in hell and
toxic clouds,
sun, volcanoes and hurricanes –
you too look blue from the distance through
a filter.
So far away from
Tahiti, you caught the eye of
a captain when
you appeared as a black disc,
so elusive before
the sun.
Amazing grace,
your rotation in slow motion –
each sunrise lasts,
days outclass years on
your surface –
the odd one out waltzing clockwise in
our West sky.
You are beauty without seasons,
hottest of all, void of
water, rocky-basalt in a cocktail so
Molotov…
Satellite irresistible,
you are goddess among the stars,
no one will dare to plant
a flag;
but
still wonder if
there is life,
love in
your
clouds.✨

© Nat Hall 2021.
I love my homeworld.

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brigant

April not a fool, just a joker … This is hame clawed in icicles since April’s first weekend.

April feels a brigant, with its hoards of dark clouds filling our springtime skies with their trillions of icicles, haily puckles, sleet, snowflakes… As if wir voar (our Nordic spring season) was trapped and confined to each afternoon.

Yet, tis not about our abominable moorie caavie (violent blizzard) this blog post is devoted, but to a book review I had longed to complete.

Long awaited.

Time is both a blessing and a curse.

In Brigantia

A.J. Murray’s second collection of poetry opens with the gentle and yet vibrant title poem, in which he begins his imaginary journey by the river, setting a vivid scene and a strong sense of place, inviting us, each reader, to ready for this journey,

“sitting by the river, / rounded aesthetics / rolling down a verdigris valley”

taking us back deep into times where Caesar’s legions clashed with a queen he names later,

“Coins, unearthed in soil / Roman – no hoard”

…That sense of place, geographical as well as in time.

Murray’s strong sense of place is echoed in the second poem, Valley. The poet brushes a very dark and mystical nano-universe by addressing a queen:

“Cartimandua, / history has not been kind to you” (…) this glade holds the bodies of ancient warriors, / fallen in forgotten battles”.

Murray the Mancunian feels eager to transcend time itself when he feels that urge to step into Brigantia, his Narnia:

“I need to come here / I’m urbanized”…

A feeling he develops through the subsequent poems Moor, Hillfort, The Way Trees Speak, Hinged Moments or Motorway, in which Murray also flirts with a certain sense of entrapment:

“Our country is too small for road trips.”

A powerful statement.

His own modern version of Brigantia emerges from sprinkled poems throughout the book, Something Urban, Stone Shale Earth, Rainy Day Blues, Nocturnes, and the beautiful Kittiwakes,

“Kittiwakes on iron girders, / man-made cliff edges / to which they return to breed, / away from the tumult / of the North Sea”.

So evocative of my own Nordic world.

Murray the poet wishes us to travel with him through his dreamy Brigantia whilst bumping into iconic or notorious personalities, Marylyn Monroe, Hitler or Elvis (!) notably through Salted, Routes, Journey, Night Poem, Eddie or Mytholmroyd, to close with Cranes,

“Cranes in the sky / and I wonder why (…) embroidered words / on an unraveling sky.”

Well chiselled, dark, poignant with a pinch of Mancunian humour itself descendent from a brigant, A.J. Murray’s second collection transports us in his Brigantia.

My question is, where next? Orkney Birds seem to point the way.

In Brigantia is available on Amazon, ISBN 9781731271365.

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Earth Hour’21

#earthhourchallenge2021

Here, to candlelight, the poem I scribbled during those 60 minutes.

A Poem for Earth Hour

Let's light candles for Mother Earth,
our powerhouse,
home under
stars;
60
minutes
without a bulb
plugged to
a grid some invented to
blind over a billion
stars,
the many eyes of
the divine
that
look on
us through
the curtain of
stratosphere...
60 minutes to
feel humble close to
the flame of
candlelight -
Mother Earth loves acts of
kindness, for
we are playing with
fire; minutes to
finish my
poem,
light-years
away from Cassiopeia,
Andromeda, as
we plug
back
to
defy black.
I wish I had eyes of
the cat.

© Nat Hall 2021

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Celebration

Happy World 🌍 Poetry Day!

Here comes my quill to this great celebration:

FEATHER-HUNTER

She walks, she walks,
she
talks and
chases
a feather,

twist from the wind,
tale from Tarmac;

she talks and
tackles a
feather,
life’s
filaments,
keratin white –
she runs and
curses a
feather,
hands in the air,
her hair’s gone wild, imploring the whole of the sky…

She stops and stamps that lone
feather,
she holds the world inside her hand.

NH 2021.

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