Monthly Archives: February 2010
What is culture but the fabric of a community – the quintessance of being, belonging to the world?
As part of a child’s education, learning one language is as important as being exposed to other cultures. Not only does the child gradually develops communications skills but he, she also learns to appreciate that cultural kaleidoscope of voices whilst appreciating his, her own.
In my [geographically remote] part of the world, education integrates “global classroom” in an effort to enable young people to view the world beyond the physical boundaries of our isles. Last June, South Africa came to Shetland. What a fabulous opportunity for Shetlanders of all ages to be exposed and to mix with the Zulu culture through a common passion, that of music and dancing.
As part of one’s cultural baggage, learning about others tears prejudice, stereotypes, fears apart. Too few priviledged ones have such possibility still.
Youssou N’Dour is playing on my iTunes – talking drums, djembe drums, drums, rhythms of Africa’s West Coast, including his native Senegal, mixed with western instruments. His voice unites more than one community. My favourite opus of his is entitled Joko – the village. It begins with a very haunting tune, Wiri-Wiri, in which children’s voices (in the background) transport you straight away inside “the village”. Powerful.
I love Youssou’s musical world. He encompasses that blend: singing in Wollof, English and French… And if he could perform in other languages, I believe he would not hesitate to do so. He’s a world believer. Yama is another haunting song. You listen to the world – boys on a boat, rowing somewhere on the Atlantic…
Like wandering off a known shore and discovering others.
Through his artistic gift, Youssou educates, reaches out to both folk from his community as well as the rest of the world.
Many other world artists scattered around the world have touched my heart. Furthermore and not too long ago, two artists decided to travel the world with basic recording equipment. They wanted to “record the world’s many voices”. The project was called One Giant Leap. Through a mixture of interviews revolving around universal themes (life, death, among many others) and songs performed by locals on the spot and selected western artists, the project brings the world closer together in a very humane way. World wisdom & culture celebrated without prejudice. What a breath of fresh air in a “boxed” world!
Encouraging such projects would liberate man’s mind from many concepts, such as nationalism, which, as already experienced through history, engulfs entire communities into short or long-term conflicts. If I was taught in (western) philosophy that man was a natural born killer, I do not believe that man is born to suffer. Accepting each other’s culture in this new millenium would indeed be deemed as a giant leap into celebrating one world. To this effect, the term biodiversity should not be restricted to the environment, hence to plants, animals whilst excluding mankind. After all, we very much belong to this ecological world.
This music from the world remains universal.
Hear that pulsar.
I don’t mind us quiet at night.
We have our realms, hidden flowers to tend and touch.
We need that land, edge of our ridge where we define bits of our sky;
that’s when our moon lines up with sun.
Let me watch us with eyes wide shut.
I don’t mind us in rotation,
our shadows resting in silence, leaning against hands of our clocks,
like silhouettes that never fear to cross their paths –
we, fireflies in outer space.
As we let light ignite present,
we hear comets whisper warm words,
unsung riddles sprinkled with dust,
like lullabies on silver shores;
that’s when water reaches my mind.
My Buddha ego on boulder,
I let the world sing its own song & dream awake here on sandstone –
capsules of now caught in cold rain, there, cracked open
on northern skin, as dynamic as dreams at dawn,
like kelpies off equinox tides.
I just mind us, serene, anchored, happy to catch stars with bare hands.
Northern Garden, 7 April 2008
All Shetland schools shut since Tuesday. Pupils & staff awaiting their fate for the day… Eyes riveted to my window: no pink sunrise – the whole of the sky, titanium grey, filled with snow.
Hey, here’s a boannie Shetlan wird, a hellery – or nightmarish weather, traditionally, horizontal rain… Not today though. Thursday would see horizontal snow from about 07:20 till late at night.
Utter “whiteout”! (It got so bad the Northern Constabulary ordered folk not to travel…)
Thursday’s hellery, in a few shots:
My NB based fellow maritimer & poet Donna Allard later confessed that we had more snow in Shetland than she had in Richibucto. …Unreal!
I called that day “white Thursday”.
now we are free.
Heavenly world, Friday 26 February 2010
…What better way to feel at one with our whole world?
As am walking back to the hearth, I hear Skydiver in my head… Its original poem, as published in Canada’s poetry magazine Poemata last year.
Have met some amazing constellations ever since I’ve started blogging.
Networking, sharing our respective patch and celebrate ONE world among the many voices who walk the shore and honour it.
My humble stone to this planetary edifice begins to shine thanks to you all, and two fellow creative minds in particular more recently,
Juliet Wilson at http://craftygreenpoet.blogspot.com/2010/02/creative-blogger-award.html , with whom we share a friend, Elizabeth M Rimmer at http://www.luchair.co.uk/gallery.html
Whilst Juliet Wilison, alias Crafty Green Poet, just awarded a creative blogger award to nordicblackbird.com, Elizabeth dedicated a space to showcase respective works.
Nat the Nordicblackbird was light years away from imagining such rewards, especially at such early stage in blogging and she remains grateful and thank you for sharing your neck of the world with mine!
Thank you, merci 🙂
The light within me salutes the light within you
Now Father Sky begins to blush as starlings gather on branches to listen to morning earth song…
In the distance our winter geese rise inside blue.
They come in waves, just like the tide…
Feathered squadrons from far afield,
soon they’ll be landing at Brakefield, their faithful patch till our sun sets…
The light within me salutes the light within you.
This slice of life was savoured on Tuesday 23 February.
I dedicate it to Stanley and Chris, who touched our life with so much love & gentleness, who now look at us from the sky.
Today’s walk took me back to my favourite tongue of Sand, Ninian. I spend a lot of time walking the length (500m one way) of that sandbridge...
It provides me with serenity, a sense of home and inner balance.
Today, that short drive away was full of adventures! As soon as you leave the “motorway” (A970, no passing places…) as I call it affectionately, your heart begins to beat like a talking drum.
You enter an area of peatland called da Tivlicks – named after that homebake, tivlick, due to the rich dark brown colour of peats… In summer, there are still a few folk who cast the soil as fuel for winter. But today, da Tivliks were sugar iced.
A closer look at peat (turf, as it is known on the North American continent) in snow and it made me think of a chocolate truffle… Hmmm, I love tasting lanscapes!
to celebrate it all, wild geese flew past as if to salute the magic of this part of the world.
Ninian in the snow overwhelms your heart.
I felt very much like a child in a toy shop this afternoon! The world, our playground, unfolds so much beauty… It is all around us.
Raw, a diamond.
Then, more wonderful sea scapes… Scousburgh Sands, Rerwick……. Places I share with visitors in summertime. They would feel equally bewildered by such spots at this time of year.
To me, this world sings out its symphony.
Back in 1998, we pitched our 4-season mountain in Levenwick and I still treasure that early May morning marvelling at its white sandy beach and whispering, this feels just like Treasure Island! …The rest is history, however, tattoed on my heart forever. Our eagerness to live the dream propelled our will to leave the cityworld for good. Island life is priceless. Besides, I adhere to Kenneth White’s concept of being able to embrace an island in geopoetics. Interestingly, our archipelago offers a myriad of isles, islands and other big rocks! During a sabbatical from the classroom, I notably opted to work for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, hence blending my two passions: education & wildlife. For two seasons, I was priviledged to hop on several islands, enhancing my craft as an “upland” naturalist and sharing my love for the [natural] world with local pupils and visitors. I still remember walking the length of Fair Isle with Roy Dennis on a fine summer evening and ringing migrants with Derek Shaw… Or ringing Storm Petrels on Mousa with Dave Okill. …Pointing out orcas and other sea mammals to tourists & locals around The North Isles and Muckle Flugga on board Dunter II remains a lifetime gift. All in all, slices of life I shan’t forget… Yes, Kenneth is right and he too would LOVE to embrace Shetland the way I do!!!
..Right, better go and check out what Abby’s been up to today… 😉