Enjoy it too, if you have not done so yet.
From a fair sailor I admire Down Under. Sara Toa is is gifted writer I read from my island with delight… A change of blog won’t stop me from enjoying this wonderful wordsmith of prose.
Enjoy it too, if you have not done so yet.
I owe her the back cover photograph of my book, a lifetime friendship on a plate, a well of laughters and shared moments of emotions…
We are woman, beautiful.
I met Aneta Lukzikova through Anita Orheim (see blog post “Vakker #wearewoman “) over a decade ago. Like Anita, Aneta was then in academic transit and decided to establish her own “hame” on this latitude. Our friendship blossomed through time and shared slices of life. We earned each other’s trust and respect gracefully, travelled the length and breadth of our islands, and even crossed the sea last summer to reconvene with Anita on her homeground for a weekend of sheer happiness in and around Fana. I had promised Aneta a beer in Bergen, we did just that. Today, we know ourselves pretty much inside out.
Of this, I’m very proud. Forever grateful to have her friendship, her love and trust as a woman and a close friend, so close I can call her my Czech sister.
For you, dear Aneta, I am going to improvise you a poem as I’m typing,
We have travelled so many roads,
crossed many bridges,
sea, earth marks.
listened and dried
so many blueprints from cold rain;
laughed at my face by
the White Wife,
helped me to
We crossed the sea to
share a pint,
taste simple pleasures in Bryggen to reconvene with
our own clan made in Norge.
And every time
dear Czech sister,
you offered me a hearth and smiles.
I am in awe of your pure
© Nat Hall 2017
“Nat, I challenge you to a short poem…” I still remember Chris’ words one fine evening at the Mareel Café in Lerwick during one memorable Open Mic’ Night in 2016.
At the time, little did I know those words would generate such a fabulous collaboration with Visitors – a trio of very talented singer/songwriters based in Shetland (till band member Chris Grant left last autumn for his Glasgow homeground with a mix bag of excitement and sadness…).
To the poet, writing for a band feels playful and self-indulgent.
Whilst band member Chris Grant has known my writing from 2012 through the National Theatre of Scotland’s Ignition project, fellow members Cha Johnson and Andy Kinnear have been exposed to my poetical world from the Shetland Open Mic Night sessions. When it came to their project as a band, they had some of my spoken words in mind for the purpose of one song when the opportunity arose. Whilst they were assembling an EP later named after the final lines of my short poem, I quickly scribbled a very short piece recollecting my “first time” as a then visitor to 60N. This recollection never left my heart and mind, so magical and powerful this very first experience felt, and became imprinted in my heart forever.
This I translated into words,
submitted to Chris, who immediately related to the piece. Perfect was his response. And left it like this, until he recorded me in a tiny office on his last day at work.
Although I had no idea of what was really happening, I later received words from Chris explaining me about Visitors’ plans and project. A bigger picture began to shape in my head. With Chris in Glasgow, I left the spoken word in good hands. Meanwhile, Shetland Times journalist and singer/songwriter Adam Guest penned an article in the islands’ weekly. More light on Visitors‘ work!
An EP to be launched in Shetland
So little did I know Visitors would launch their work at this year’s Shetland Folk Festival in South Nesting. News filtered gradually via all three members earlier this spring. I still remember Cha’s lovely words- both at Gutters’ Gaet and Andy’s… We all turned more excited about such launch! From Cha’s messages to the rehearsals at Islesburgh and Clairmont Place, I discovered the entire EP, tasted fabulous slices of life (as well as Andy’s newly improved home made chilli con carne!) in fabulous company; a wild ride in Andy’s car to listen to the CD newly arrived in his lair, and reconvened with Chris and Roo.
On the night, 29 April 2017
Whilst Visitors had already invested the South Nesting Public Hall for the indispensable sound check, I joined in with the audience. Familiar and other faces lined up against the wall, ticket in hand. The air was crisp in a dry though overcast world… I left the comfort of my peerie buggy as soon as I saw my trio of artistes emerging from the building. Reunited on the night for the gig! Hugs, smiles and kind words filled our hearts.
Little did I realise the concert would be performed in a jam packed hall with other great bands following in our footsteps…
And Chris invited me on stage to close the act, whilst reading those words I once scribbled about “little did I know this would mean home”. The act well, very well received by the audience on this fun night of performance. Maggie already released in iTunes. The rest of the EP to follow in the great digital constellation of the apple.
Happy poet, humble and thanking you, dear Visitors for such an epic adventure 🙂
Tattooed in my heart forever.
From Norway, West Norway, I COULD HAVE A TRIPTYCH of three beautiful women featured in today’s post – and they are rightly in my heart. Yet I choose the ONE who opened me that wonderful door to Norge, and this is obviously my friend and photographer Anita Orheim, now Perrone.
We are Woman, creative, beautiful.
Our friendship feels ancestral as well as creative. And when I was asked to attend her wedding to François Perrone, read at the Fana kirke, my lens was also very active on that very magical day. Moment tattooed forever in my heart.
How long now have I known Anita? Photography connects us. Our story flang brand new doors wide open when Anita asked me to cover Norway Liberation Day 2010, celebrated for the very first time in Shetland, with Norwegian Royal representation via the Norwegian Coastguards & closer to her home, via NYBAKK, the floating museum led by the Nybakk family, which in turn became part of “my Norskie Clan”. We shared so many slices of life since Scalloway, Lerwick, and Shetland…
As many folk say, the rest is history.
Please visit Anita’s photographic constellation under Anita Orheim Photography
Today, my “Norwegian sister” lives back home happily with François and their peerie man, Alvar.
Here, to celebrate her woman’s work, as a mother in her homeworld, a poem.
Le Petit Prince de Norvège
The one who stops looking up at the stars forgets.
He counts clementines at Yule time on a table fit for a prince, or
give him a glass that will
allow Jupiter’s moons, or the
silky rings of Saturn shine in his eyes –
smallest of things,
single filed ants along a stem,
mayflies newly born at sunrise,
dust from Lyra, or comet hairs
enlight his mind.
lie down in the meadow where
grass grows high to home hoppers,
mimmick the blackbird,
feel the elk,
befriend a rose or a red fox…
goggles and leather gloves,
map & compass, coordinates to
avoid dunes in the desert.
the Moon, the way each waves shapes the heart stone*,
the way the sun clads earth spirits,
weaves green saris in winter skies –
teach him the songs from
And if the bridge feels strong enough,
he’ll look at you when he’s afraid, and reach for the string of his kite.
The one who keeps looking at stars will
find his footprints in the
© Nat Hall 2017
* the “heart stone”= Kannesteinen Rock, from Oppedal, off Måløy.
Every first Friday of March, as told by the tide, we gather, united by bond and fire, and we celebrate the return of the sun.
#smuha 2017, from Cunningsburgh, with burning at Mail Beach.
After the rain,
three herring gulls on
two rounds of
out of wharf, ripples & ruffle,
it comes to dip among
and finds solace amid
harness silver edge
tides… Where wings wrangle
herring gull pride.
Look at the edge of your own world.
Free your heart & feet from tarmac,
where gutters offer
Untie your boat, grab your
Hear the call of the
everlasting song of rollers
melts in white
some call it a desert
but to my heart,
it is music.
Either side of the shining
we find our prints tied around kelp:
on the dry side of the mirror,
men have wandered among knives and
shells spewed offerings;
so few can listen to the wind,
the song of seasons inside wings
of a kingdom made of
where the sun rests
I hear you
“you’re a dreamer” –
“time is money to all of us.”
I say “throw your coins to a sea, paper to oblivious
The world you live feeds from
despair, liars and lice;
they gave you dreams as
Tied to a tree inside concrete,
sea rockets smell so alien…
We imagine resolutions
locked around feet,
with their keys kept inside
their makers –
make no mistake,
they will not give them easily;
magpies like anything
This world I love has its
© Nat Hall 2017