The Place of the "I" in the World and The Meaning of North

“A home is a cathedral, a place where a king can rest…” [R. Orzabal]

Those words sound like a leitmotive. Not too long ago, Juliet Wilson, a.k.a Crafty Green Poet, highlighted in a recent comment to a blog entry “how divorced we are from the natural world”… Quite right! The urban man has shrunk his place, that of the “I” in the world.

This confinement inside concrete can only alienate, hence blinding oneself from one’s natural place on Earth. City Parks feel like oases pearls of green, islets of goodness in which urban dwellers re-connect with the real world. Away from this concentration of cement & asphalt, they recover their raison d’être..


You & the sea,
where great black backs nest;

you & the sky,
where the sun seeks rest –

you & the stars,
comets on a quest,

you & the tide,
each wave weaves a crest…

And the sea & the sky free from house arrest,
I still seek my own star
as I walk this Ness,
with my feet waterlogged

in a game of chess,

I am dreaming of you
through the water-mirror.

Sandwick, 4 February 2010

 Pick up a cardinal point and drift away.  

North was chosen. What does it mean to the nomad?…Brand new playground, untouched garden; that sense of belonging to the world… 

Through the 2000s, the following concepts crossed my mind.
feel this frantic nordic ocean
spray flies over cliff face
 our heads     
like dandelion
                             Obsessed by a magnet
            Rooted so deeply in our eyes
            Towards a point invisible
        Hooked like a dream on a compass                                                                            
more north than north                                                                       
muckle flugga                                                                       
                        rocky token for a giant or a gannet                                     
defies our bearings   where                                     
land dives in that blueness of

Visual concepts on what north means, as a treasure, as a gift:

…as it looks today!

I. riddle
tagless token on copper plate,
rune from heart when lightning strikes…
2. acrostic
engraved symbol – nordic,
bald as treasure,
3. meaning
on petal count, I like you more…
present, cadeau, prezent,
need I say more?

from the Handover Project, © Nat Hall 2007 



Filed under 60N, home, island, north, shetland, spirit, verse, world, writing

2 responses to “The Place of the "I" in the World and The Meaning of North

  1. this is a lovely post, Nat, photos and words woven together beautifully. Thanks for the mention too!

  2. Thank you kindly, J :)Oh, I love your humanity towards the planet and green hearts & fingers unite! I take it conservation is very dear to you. It is to me too. I once worked with the RSPB as an Assistant Warden for Sumburgh Head & Mousa in the early 00s. Shame it was only seasonal…The natural world is very special.N 🙂

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