Monthly Archives: May 2010

Nordic Dream

I shared with Anita,

I shared it with my westside gang of writers,
I shared it with Per-Kåre’s clan
and now with you 🙂
And I dedicate it to the Nybakk and all her friends. 

Last night I dreamt of your island,
where mountains shoot out of ocean.

Sogn og Fjordane,

where words harbour strange sounds –
brand new diphthongs
hooked on my tongue,
blues and greens of the fisherman.

And through the eye of iced dreamers,
I touched the stone polished by time,
taille de guêpe* fashioned by tides,
earthrides, fabric of all angels.

Now show me coverts on the shore.

 Poet’s Note:
taille de guêpe: in fashion, the perfect figure

© Nat Hall 2010


Filed under 60N, geopoetics, island, north, poetry, verse

the world in one island

the world is flocking to the island

As we are drifting towards Johnsmas, dear Simmerdim, a single glance in the harbour awakes senses: world flags, hulls and accents colour every inch of pontoon. Bollards become multi-lingual… Cultures are mooring in Shetland.

 Have always loved that sense of gathering on such a small superficy of green. And they’re  coming from so many directions…  Just a few weeks away from Hamefarin and the island already feels like the ultimate rendez-vous point! shetland hamefarin 2010

Wood versus carbon fibre

It doesn’t really matter…  Rivets and gps seem to get on very well together.
The island has always been accustomed to maritimers of all kinds, from fish merchants to buccaneers 🙂

The many tones of this earth side remains a magnet for this sense of togetherness, fraternity found inside the safety of the harbour… The very roots of the real world. 

Nil Desperandum [LK235]
Where oceans meet at either end,
            I hear gannets on earth background.
You’re resting there,
 keel lost in kelp, bare to shingle –
dark within light before
my lens,
so far away
from Scalloway or
“28 years…” old Jimmy said,
tongue filled with pride,
he never lost faith on starboard
or your portside,
as he rolls black against             
your hull.                                         
How many ghosts,                                                
pulls of the moon,                                                 
scales caught in nets?                                                    
Their heartbeats echo on deckboards.                                   
You’re just leaning against this wharf,                        
 like an old lass at her window…                                                          
immortalised by a young friend                                                
who looks at you                                       
in light sepia.                                                          
Nat, Lerwick, 20 May 2008


Leave a comment

Filed under 60N, Arcania, colours, earth, geopoetics, home, images, north, roots, shore

Norway celebrated in Shetland: nordic bond

Norwegian National Day celebrated in Shetland

It takes one single night sharing a slice of life around a few tables to realise how many folk speak Norwegian on this side of the North Sea.

Whilst the old harbour gradually welcomed yachts from the morning of 17 May, Shetland hoisted Norway’s flag with pride in anticipation to a fabulous day of festivities. A cloudless sky boreal style filled everybody’s eyes. Norway Constitution Day (the equivalent to the 4th July in the US or 14 July in France) would resonate in Shetland blue from dawn till dusk and well into a simmer night.

Smiles everywhere

Lerwick Town Hall

Famous for its stained glass windows depicting  its nordic heritage, the 19th century edifice remains the favourite place for the Shetland-Norway Friendship Society to celebrate such event.
 Our host for the night, Derick Herning, opened the dinner-dance with a memorable speech before all rose to sing the Norwegian national anthem. Shetlanders and Norwegians in unison. As a second hors d’oeuvre, Shetland’s 2010 Young Musician of the Year Chapman Cheng notably treated the assembly with his performance of Grieg’s Violin and Piano Sonata in G Major,accompanied by Deirdre Hayward. This was very special.  Edvard Grieg
Dance followed  a Shetland-Norwegian feast… Languages (including shreds of German and French!), Shetlan and Norwegian dialects with their respective variations flew around tables – accordions and smiles filled the rest of the night.  My newfound friends from Nybakk were anchored in my (and Anita’s) thoughts. And yes, made new friends too 🙂

Talk of a dose of nordic culture in the middle of the North Atlantic… I love such taste of geopoetics in action! 
Tusen takk, Derick 🙂


Filed under 60N, celebration, geopoetics, island

pushing out the boat

we, the children of fishermen

Miles away from the word festival at Aberdeen University, I pushed the boat in Shetland blue. 
North East Scotland’s  anthology of new writing, foreworded by Shetland poetess Christine De Luca, was launched today in the granite city. Thank you to the editorial team for including Stormday.
Pushing Out The Boat

Today,  anything but a stormday.
In the grandeur of 60N,  I hopped on islands like a child and let the light fill my heart. This Sunday was tainted in hues that are synonym with summer… So I watched my world through the lens. And when I seek either solace or redemption, I always end up at Ninian.
I love this sandbridge in late afternoon. I’m usually alone with birds and diamond sea…  Summer has reached north atlantic, as three surfers ventured inside turquoise waters before tea time.

There at low tide, sand was littered with sugar kelp. So I went closer to the rocks and felt the power of our world – the mechanics of the cosmos, as water filled sandy channels, every cubic inch of rockpool…

And followed tracks across the sand, the many grains of wilderness.

One final thought on that new day, 
(Monday) 17 May.

For the very first time in 26 years, I will look at it without fear and will celebrate in Lerwick Norway’s Constitution Day with my buddies from either side of the northworld 🙂
Norwegian Constitution Day

Leave a comment

Filed under 60N, atlantic, colours, home, images, island, life, ninian, north, poets, shetland, shore, spirit, world

adrift in the world… looking eastwards

retour aux sources

Back to grassroots.
Nor-norn-norse-north. I still remember my loving godfather’s words when I announced him we were to settle on some archipelago west of Norway.  

“So you’re going back to your roots,” he chuckled.
“Yep,” I then answered with a grin.

Nine years later and within a single week, my Norman heart beats to new sounds; records new words and photographs eyes and smiles from the other side of the North Sea.
Shetland cultivates special bonds with the Scandinavian world & her Norwegian neighbours in particular. Their friendship is sacred and tattooed forever on every rock. 
Please check the following links:viking heritage and shetland heritage

 adrift & yet firmly anchored

It all began with a meeting in the staffroom; connecting and sealing friendship with some daring “Viking” expat,  who lives & breathes in a very similar way…  Once eyes cross and find a point of fixation this strange ability to read beyond the envelope and feel, well, alchemy starts. 
Very little did I know such simple moment would lead to such extraordinary humane adventure!

Norway Liberation Day 2010 celebrated in Shetland 

Anita Orheim sets a precedent for the 65th Anniversary of the event, which coincides with VE Day on 8 May.
She orchestrates it from her adopted home; brings in family & friends from her home islandinvites both communities to reinforce their bond and invites the Coastguard vessel Aalesound to represent the military from Norway for the occasion…

I, her humble eyes for the day

My will to help with photographying the entire event opens new doors from the moment Anita accepts my offer. One precious week to prepare myself and be able to exchange a few words in her mother tongue with our Norwegian guests… A new challenge is set!

And what a start… M/S Nybakk
From arrival on Thursday night on choppy waves… Bressay Sound jigs NE style as we gather by the Alexandra Building. A bit of home is about to moor at Victoria Pier.
Skipper and crew all on deck waving at the small welcoming party.
Mooring ropes fly at around 8 p.m.
Emotions begin to  fill hearts and throats…
Please check out: MSNYBAKK.COM

KNOPER – KNOTS… Knotting friendship
Anita ensured I would get maximum exposure to her Norwegian world by allowing my lens to enter the belly of the boat. My enthusiasm overrode anxiety and it took one evening to connect with it all. Arve Nybakk’s my teacher for the knotting exercise.  Anita’s a natural, I, a novice!
That Friday night, I began to store new & vital vocabulary and tasted Norwegian hospitality around a table full of life, food and smiles…  What a grand way to tie friendship and forge new bonds! Per-Kåre Nybakk, our boat’s skipper, aka da Chief, is watching…
8 May
through the lens
From Scalloway’s Shetland Bus Memorial & Lerwick War Memorial to the official reception on board the Aalesound and more informal party on the Nybakk…
The day was filled with emotion and humanity.

Waving goodbye on Saturday night proved emotional for Anita in particular. I must confess my throat also felt tight and dry as my hand went up… 

I now look at it as the start of a beautiful friendship. Within three days, my heart drifted eastwards and I remain forever grateful to Anita for such humane experience. 
Tusen takk, Nita!
  This poetics takes a new turn, as I begin to enjoy the cultural flavours of your homeland…  
Norwegian news 

Hyggelig å hilse pådeg,

Freddy og Karin Silden, Arve Nybakk, Ann Mabel Nybakk, Tor Kråkenes, Audun Nybakk, Arvid Haug, Willy Berg, Alf Sjåstad, John-Arne Nybakk, Marius Nybakk,  Per-Kåre Nybakk,

  I think we now have a result.


Filed under 60N, atlantic, Canada, earth, geopoetics, home, images, island, life, norman, north, roots, writing

When poets meet and walk the shore…

Intellectual nomadism in action 
Our words sometimes feel like seaglass – colourful, insignificantHiding among sea and sand grains, washed on a shore; undetected until one hand picks them away and accepts each as a gem stone.

Summer belongs to the comber. As splash zones turn into treasure chests, we look for something different. 

Whenever I can, I share slices of summer with close friends, either poets or earth nomads, who dare to swim in any sea, from the Baltic to Atlantic .

That day, we sought seaglass at Sandsayre. Our hands gathered Arcania’s goldseashells, strange stones, driftwood and multi-bruck.   
We drove back to her citadel on the hillside and sat at the table.There,our fingers dived inside the  bag and scattered the loot all around. We shared coffee, paper and pens. And re-constructed the moment through a poem so spontaneous, as each line fed off each oither’s words. It’s been sleeping in a folder for four years now and like seaglass, i look at it as a treasure.
It’s called Your Driftwood.

Look no further than on the side of this ocean,
water green salt – deep & unknown just like my fear,
            this fear to jump, panic and drown
there is no…                                                        
hesitation in me?                
I am floating…
What if I fall in the water?
You are driftwood, lifeline on waves;
    that bit of you I’m holding on above brown kelp like a dratsie
I am the sea, the smoke,    
the fireplace, the warming coal,                      
you are the shelter castigated in bird’s song…
    sea-salt-drift-soul, I taste your love inside rollers,
    my nightmare tossed, smashed in the glass of the shoormal
drying up?                                           
Faded by the sun,               
smaller & smaller like sand grains?
   With you I ken I’ll never drown
whatever colour of the beach,
whatever language of the sea,
I hear it everywhere,
  We drew no line in this blue hell,
metallic dream;
unspoken bowl of treasures,
touching me gently
the driftwood
like an invisible poem,
  ripples are humming lullabies
         distant echoes of sea stories,
fears draped in nets,
                        our smiles,

Nat and Klaudia, Quarff, 3 Aygust 2006


Filed under 60N, geopoetics, island, poets, verse

this blue

four images on the meaning of blue…


Filed under 60N, geopoetics, images, island