Monthly Archives: August 2010

We are from the stars and the sea

Wherever I look, I lose myself in the great waterworld

I often describe my island as a long sausage – so narrow, so close we all live to the water’s edge.

We, the people of the north sea, north atlantic and nordic world, we can’t escape from wind and spray.

So we build boats to weave friendship and connections.

Da boat, as it is known on all fringes of my island, has long remained the traditional means of transport… 


We have special boats here on this latitude, handcrafted and modelled on the viking one… Wood and rivets, kabe, hamle- humli- humblyband.

Ropes, lines, riggings

…Wood and rivets, kabe, hamle- humli- humblyband. To me it sounds like a rengaine, earth leitmotive… And when I tie it to a friend, our nomadism braves each wave from Bressay Sound to the Firth of Lorn :-)) 

What does it mean to the nomad? …An opening to our own world.


Filed under 60N, atlantic, boats, celebration, earth, geopoetics, home, images, introduction, island, north, project, roots, shetland, shore, writing

the oared folk

One year ago or thereabout,
I was standing on my sandbridge at St Ninian and watched folk row in the distance.
I had the whole beach to my feet  and came back home with bits and bolts from evening walk and made the most of this day-dream by engraving those words in ink after freeing them from the kelp…
One moment capsule in one grain where one tide rocks symetrical.
Today i dream  of craft builders who would understand the Atlantic, the deep meaning of humli- baand………….
So there it is without further introduction.

The Oared Folk

They’re rowing,
curved silhouettes towards fringe of one horizon

they’re rowing,
out to ocean they dream to tame

they’re rowing,
oar against kabe, same humli-baand

they’re rowing,
palms against wood create friction

they’re rowing,
clockwork bodies, mechanical

away from all familiar craigs,
elliptic bays,
light selkies songs –

temptation fae da waterhorse

they’re rowing
and I watch you barefoot in sand.

Poet’s notes:
Kabe: wooden pice holding the oar in place; humli-band: a piece of rope keeping oar to the kabe.

© Nat Hall 2009

And oh, this piece was well received at last year’s Creative Connections.


Filed under 60N, Arcania, atlantic, celebration, earth, geopoetics, home, island, ninian, north, poetry, shetland, simmerdim, spirit, verse, world

fractured bearings

when that poem sounds like an anthem

Strange feelings have filled my heart since yesterday. 
In the light of the spoon-fed world, I was saddened by the news of Scotland’s greatest poet the 20th century has ever met. Mr Morgan has inhabited my creative star ever since I collided with that visionary rendez-vous. 

Native American wisdom reminds us all there is no death – only a change of world

Very well. Let’s celebrate the poetics of such great man. Instinctively, I read it out to a close friend as a remedy to poison. His spoken world is alive forever. The only link I need to add is my favourite space poem of his… offcourse
Such moment of glory resonates forever. Unlike any rock or metal, it will neither erode or corrode… However exposed to the sea.

in-between Glasgow and Sandwick

But then, in the midst of that unforeseen eclipse, new constellations merge in innerspace… No collision. Funny enough, I was conversing with Norrie via FB when kindred spirits met in the rain, there on tarmac of some carpark before they decided to celebrate their connection over a pint… Friday night belongs to poets who paint one world and share visions. Tonight, Kenneth White on our lips, as we celebrated the poetics of our respective shores.That talented photographer from Glasgow can be found here: Ruth ‘s constellation
How grateful to Alistair Cook I feel tonight! Kindred spirits really shine and find their way through the ever expanding world we call cosmos.
Now let us re-count shooting stars 😉


Filed under colours, edwin, geopoetics, home, kenneth, life, morgan, offcourse, poets, roots, shore, spirit, white, world, writing


 It has returned, stars now again visible – my angels’ eyes.
Last night, I marvelled again at the Perseids… The whole of the sky unveiled itself to my childlike eyes. I stood on the top step of my kitchen back door wrapped in my Shetland blanket.

Last year, I wrote a piece out of such experience, The Whole of the Sky.

One last fag for a meteor.
Tonight I stand at my backdoor right before you,
asymmetric to Moon & Mars,
allegoric to northern night, as I’m waiting for flying rocks –
dust, tears, debris from a martyr since canonised
men don’t celebrate any more…
I’m watching the whole of the sky
late summer lace torn by the sigh of a demon
whose eye defies our depth of space…
and count each flash, elusive spark
and imagine God lights cigars with a more powerful lighter –
I guess he’s running out of fuel.
Maniac’s fingers might trash the flint;
my Milky Way gone up in smoke as he burns wishes among stars…
He might feel luckier with a match,
blow a halo around the sun;
and until I finish my fag,
I shall keep still on my top step, look up to you with shameless eyes
and draw a pen from my pocket to link each dot.
© Nat Hall 2009

I stopped smoking since then.

moment encapsulated in verse, then turned into song by Garden2Garden

Dusk is a Dame,
dressed to attract like a magnet,
metallic blue or just jet black,
my loneliness & my angels.
This sky’s in rags,
torn between flares around pale stars –
too weak to love,
cries to the Moon;
sister darkness hides all his scars.
She’s cold & damp,
Indigo blue;
waltzes with dreams –
drinks from the clouds…
like sunflowers in a bouquet;
globular gold,
dark at its heart;
a thousand eyes look down on me
as if to say
“you’re not alone”.
A capella,
night is when you return to me;
your love and smile, all but a ghost –
song without words,
I need to feel, just not to see.
Blissful moments
slide before dawn,
they feel so real.    

© Nat Hall 2005

…All is quiet in Arcania.


Filed under Arcania, celebration, colours, garden2garden, geopoetics, images, project, spirit, verse, writing

morning walk

just like a sign…

My morning wish to tidy up within my walls went through the roof as light increased… I heard the North Atlantic calling.

So I looked up through the window and drove to my favourite sands.

There is no place like it on Earth.

 First, it appeared like a guizer…
I decided on a more feline, stealth approach – so I walk sideways like a crab. And then I watched this morning fog slithering like the most elusive of serpents. I never dared to look behind, I just kneeled on the warming sand.

As light returned, colours deepened. Jade from shallows to summer blue polarised my senses and heart.
When you come down to the shoormal, you need to respect every step and make contact with Atlantic.
So I took off my sheepskin boots and folded the edge of my breeks.

…Welcome to morning Arcania 🙂

 …It is not cold, it does not sting! I felt at one with the whole world.
So if you too live by the shore, take a morning to feel its pulse and it will help you remember who and where you truly are :).

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Filed under 60N, Arcania, atlantic, colours, earth, geopoetics, home, images, island, life, ninian, north, roots, shore, spirit, world


for A
So many cobbles and boulders.
Let me redraw  each contour line;
Blacksness, castle,
they say mortar that binds all stones is mixed

with blood

and when I look at each slipway,
I remember a prince’s wish
to anchor boats
deep in your bay

and add colours to your skyline.

Now let me whisper to the maas –
their  reflections really fly high;

and wherever the wind may turn,

there is a home for every boat,
resting poppies on memorials,
restless ripples
closing on

as mist moves in,

shadows belong to the gallows…

I never knew tears in your eyes
but when I look back to the hill I feel your world

and want to step back to your door,
where that peerie dog and stoneman
always welcome you 
without frown…

We both stood by that silver boat,
there’s an angel in the harbour.

Poet’s note: 
the maas = gulls

© Nat Hall 2010


Filed under 60N, geopoetics, images, verse

whale of a time?

Puffin mania sounds more like it!

We create fun with what we have.

When David tells me we go and photograph wildlife, I nod and smile… And think, “ouch, I need to give it my best shot, ’cause he’s a lot better than me in that category!” …No pressure, my telephoto lens is fun at reasonable distances. My flair will do the rest! 

So here it is. 

Saturday afternoon at Sumburgh Head, amidst dare-devils hovering around cliffs, attempting to take off and land without losing too much grace… Yes, the eddies (or air currents) can provide our peerie parrots of the sea with amazing challenges! From the moment we reached the “penthouse” (or grassy slopes around the lighthouse), those peerie guys were flying just like fulmars… Gliding very close at eye level at high speed! Some fun to watch and some challenge for the lens!

And then drama increased with stooping bonxies, our pirates of the sea, (as I call them with affection)  and fun flyers, da maalies, or Fulmar petrels.

I feel so safe behind that dry stone wall in my bubble.

I chuckle at precarious landings although I keep in mind that loss of grace also happens to any creature… That we all remain stardust and confronted to the elements, the world reminds us all of our place. Unlike us, the rest of the animal (as well as the plant) kingdom adapt to the environment.
Hence my total admiration towards what appears so fragile at first glance. Atlantic puffins may look clumsy either on land or in the air, however, their robust bodies and resilience in the real world enable them delight us every summer. 

…And if you really crave for drama, you can still enjoy your last hours of puffin madness through that now famous webcam! A date with nature

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Filed under 60N, atlantic, celebration, earth, geopoetics, home, images, island, life, seabird, shetland, spirit, wind, world

afternoon in Hillswick


I promised myself a few things before the new term starts and visiting Fiona, aka Oily Muggie, in Hillswick was one of them.

The drive alone to the northern village is an adventure in  itself, for one ventures though Shetland’s  spectacular wilderness and, from the top of the hill on approach to Urafirth, Ronas Hill, culminating at 450m above sea level – that Pink Giant –  dominates one’s field of view… Impressive lump of rock! The view towards Hillswick never ceases to amaze my heart.

Finding Fiona is not really difficult, since all one needs to do is to follow the (only) road, past the St Magnus Bay Hotel click here! and then a first signpost will lead you to Muggie’s homeground, the very last house where the road ends. 🙂

Fiona seeks treasures from local artists and assemble them neatly inside the old doctor’s surgery not Aladdin’s cave… Oily Muggie’s Cave of Wonders! The very first impression one feels when entering is that of serenity. Local music welcomes you in. …It’s magic :)) There I found a myriad of craftsmanship, from pottery to textiles, via Abby’s famous raincoats (hand-made cards) and culinary delights…

I went back home with a scarf, a star, two raincoats sharing love, Lonely Hearts …Some delicious Baltasound oatcakes as well as a present for a friend… But I also take back a wonderful slice of life I treasure forever! Thank you, thank you, Fiona!!!

Oh, and if you are unfamiliar with Oily Muggie’s smile yet, I strongly recommend a visit, either real and/or virtual at: Oily Muggie 


Filed under 60N, celebration, colours, home, images, introduction, island, review, shetland, writing

into the wild

trek through the green

The more we walked through the island, the more our world shares hues of life – from fields of jades to purple hills… And yet we trekked through a jungle.

 Some wild garden ahead of us!

We walked besides the lilipads, found open gates and secret doors… A stony path back to the shore…  The land was kind and generous.

One final look before we went… An angel smiled here on the wall.

...We will be back for more flowers 🙂


Filed under 60N, Arcania, geopoetics, images, world, writing