Monthly Archives: November 2010

St Andrew’s Day from my bus window

Let me share with you today’s trek 

in blue & white…

my great trek north, N by NE 
Mousa emerges from nowhere clad in low clouds…
Now we approach Cunningsburgh;
and dream of sheep in nordic blue…
Back to Bressay and Noup of Noss.
 
Slush and ice stick to bus tyres and slowly find ourselves in
 Quarff –

time has become irrelevant…

a favourite sight in all seasons – wir local breed of horses!
Arrival in the capital,
school bells will have 
to be patient
Lerwck’s just like Edinburgh in miniature… It is hilly!
Now we’re just about 
to negociate 
the final roundabout, 
as we’re aiming 
to hit da Knab!
A reassuring building on our headland,
minutes away from our carpark for the reminder of the day.
If St Christopher remains the patron of us, travelers – St Andrew kept us from peril on this last of November.
 
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D&D

awakening

Today’s dawn,

29 November, captured at around 0900 GMT.

I saw fire in the distance,

a bit of orange

against ice
and

titanium.

The island
sleeps
deep
inside blue.
Even the tide
dares
not
to
turn…
And as we zoom out deep outside,
starlings & blackbirds feel
dying dawn
and 
come to
feast on garlic bread;
Pantagruel plays in thick snow!
and now to dusk
Only separated
by a few
hours,
I love
this
blue
crepuscular.
Our world
returns
to
its curfew…
Caught through
the lens at 
1500,
looking 
westward –
towards a pale 
flamingo sun…
Everything 
hides deep
inside 
blue.
Moments in bubbles from 60N
Black & White world,
until dawn dies, all I can see is dark on ice –
flurries still knock at my window.
Threads,
lapses of time from dawn till dusk –
spun in winter, woven by hand.
In between street lights & tarmac,
essence of dusk glides on blue ice –
every flurry points to dreamers.

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Island anchored in Ice

chou,
genou, hibou, 
cailloucaribou

I saw antlers when I captured this view of the island this morning. Eyes were riveted to small tracks, but if you look at the shadows, you might just see solid deciduous horns, usually branched, of an animal of the deer family. 

Hence, caribou :-).

I often compare the island to a mini Canada or a mini Svalbard every time it is anchored in ice.  


A more wide angled 
view,
looking
S-SW,
towards
another island,
equi-distant
between
the Northern Isles,
allows the eye
to appreciate the majesty of our white world.

In such horrid climatic conditions, my first instinct is to check out our enclosed patch named our garden. Starlings were feasting on yoghurt pots filled with homemade bird cakes and were dangling like gifts of love… Sunday morning felt so serene. Not a flying flurry or grain of ice in sight. I kept a packet of oatmeals for ground feeders. Snow’s like a quilt, but to our feathered friends, autumn became invisible. 

Without a sigh, the afternoon unleashed the dark side of the postcard! Wonderland turned hellish outside – starlings sought shelter from the monster blowing ice…
A strange arctic blue filled our sky, as wings fled away in terror.
The island vanished in the snow.
This constant game of hide-and-seek lasted till dusk – and as I type, flurries still knock at my window from time to time. 

I dare to imagine starlings roosting away from ice… How many will see next morning, as more oatmeals will adorn snow.

Today’s haiku fae 60N
Precocious Yule,
bird cakes adorn our willow trees –
our gifts of love for wings to come. 


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6 1/2 days and then, sunrise of fire!

Tales from the light

Newgrange, Co Meath, Ireland – Maeshowe, Orkney….
  Celts and Norse folk have much to share in terms of burial chambers and beliefs. If it is said that no great Celtic tale in between Samhain and Yule is told, with maybe the exception of Daghda’s mating with Boand, and Oengus, the son who is conceived at dawn and born before dusk, was born. And although this interpretation has little to do with the winter solstice, it nonetheless evokes the Celtic motif for the pre-eminent Feminine darkness containing (notably) Daghda’s seed of light … Well, to both Celts and Norse folk,  the winter solstice is somehow used through a mystic construction. If I am not mistaken, Newgrange’s stone sepulchre was constructed in such a way the primal rays of the sun would shoot straight into the inner chamber… Just like Maeshowe! That great chamber cairn houses not only Europe’s largest collection of Viking graffitti but also a dragon! (It’s an unforgettable visit, highly recommended, should you happen to tour the Northern Isles.)

Amazing parallels! Please check out both sites:  Newgrange Co Meath and Maeshowe and solstice

Speaking of which…winter sunrise

Over the years, my daily commuting to Lerwick has enbled my heart to marvel at wonderful sunrises and sunsets. As we are pod-racing to the winter solstice, dawn and dusk gain in momentum. My daily trek north took an additional twist yesterday, as ice and snow from an Arctic Low has hit my latitude for a few days now…

From my bus window, I dazzled at the hues of blue gradually blending with those primal rays from the sun. Stunning palette of colours as we were driven to the islands’ urban hubl! 

My great trek north began in gey-blue…
School bairns in the snow…
Bressay and the Noop of Noss now clad in pink…
Last leg of sunrise… my dear island, this mini- Svalbard in the light.
In other words…
Very few spectacles in our world feel as powerful as those born from the light. We are priviledged to be dazzled by its magic; whether at dawn, dusk or at night, as we contemplate the cosmos and closer to us, our big sky.
It has the power to inflame our beliefs, imagination and it remains a source of constant creativity.
Dusk deserves its own blog entry!
 …In the meantime, I stick to my devotion to haiku 🙂

Sunrise over Mousa,
shameless, dare-devil bonfire –
celestial hearth in Nordic dawn…
Dawn breakers,
two starlings perched on bare willows –
breakfast on grass.
Morning ravens,
jet solitaire wings on tarmac –
tearing flesh.

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the great slide towards the winter solstice

in between Samhain and Yule

Hello, dear Beaver Moon.
I love that name from the Native American world.
Four weeks away from the longest night in our Northern Hemisphere…
I have just added an application on my iPod – Perpetuum, a “revolutionary lunar calendar”… It gives you our satellite’s phase in comparison to the solar position in between equinox and solstice.
I often consult my dear friend as we are sliding to the latter at great speed. According to the (British) Met Office, days shrink like lambswool soaked in the wrong temperature… Between two and three minutes respectively in the morning and afternoon each day. Sunsets become increasingly precocious, whereas sunrises, increasingly lazy. 

However, that light in between autumn and winter never ceases to amaze me.
Light in riddles, morning, afternoon and sunset…
And back to dusk before you even know it!
Each moment celebrated in a form of poetry I am learning to love… 
Haiku
Morning ravens,
jet slitaire wings on tarmac –
tearing flesh.
Riddle of dusk –
3.30 sun erased and burnt –
munched away by the Beaver Moon.
Riddle of night,
switch off the stars and shameless Moon –
the photographer’s darkest room.
My shore turns blue as night advances towards Yule. Even each tide seems to take time to turn around… I sometimes feel strapped to that ride called Oblivion.

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No matter where we look, it’s blue

That time in between day and night

With shorter days, catching the sun slide between silk and salt turns out to become a real game of hide-and-seek. And yet, such precious moment allows plenitude in one dominant tone – blue.
Dusky blue.
That’s when I love wandering on the very edge of the island. Everything turns a ghost – each rock, ripple, roller and cloud… Even the moon dares not appear until we taste the very reason for crimson. Sand feels like lead under my feet. Each blade of dancing sand dune grass follows my steps. The wind fills my head with ideas, as my hand reaches for each wave.

My sandbridge littered with footprints,

as if an army of dreamers conquered the whole of Arcania… And yet all I can hear is wind, the gentle rhythm in ripples, since rollers sleep in the shoormal. I lost my heart inside the sand and found shelter in-between dunes, where I can run after Titan or Europa.

I once described night as a dame, indigo blue… I caught her grace in half circle… As she watches us from her height, all birds have found their favourite roosts with the exception of a daring flock of greylags that flew around lusher hillsides.

No matter where my eyes turn to, everything was draped inside blue.

On every sand grain and ripple,
I write your name,
Arcania.

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Metasaga

finding our place

Geopoetics, intellectual nomadism, metasaga…

When selecting my training courses for my October two-day In-Service Training last September, I came across one that immediately spoke to my heart. Its description read fascinating – its title said it all. Metasaga.
My new term began with a bang, as I met with a very inspiring course leader and group whilst on a on that particular course at school. Firstly, I was a little astonished to find the course under-subscribed… However, I felt far less surprised to find two of my fellow local poets/artists among our group, Fair Isle based Lise Sinclair and Hebridean bard & writer, Donald S. Murray, who teaches English in Sandwick. As a matter of fact, all participants were involved in the Arts at educational level. 

Wunjo, rune of joy, light

A token of somebody’s loveFriendship engraved on a stone, which finds its place around my neck. I made sure I would not forget it on my journey through autumn term. Metasaga is a compound word formed out of two words, meta, from metaphor and saga, from our neighbouring nordic friends. Storytelling is very much interwoven in the history & cultural heritage.  As soon as our course leader began to explain what we were to undertake, my geopoetical heart began to sing deep inside!
Uyesound School headteacher Kate Coutts spoke very much like Kenneth White, father of Geopoetics, the albatross and intellectuial nomadism; she aims to help us  find our place in the world around us by taking us on an inner journey.

Metasaga does not answer questions – it enables each journeyman to ask much deeper questions about him/herself in this world through culture, heritage and physical landscape.. 

Needless to say we did not stay very long in the classroom, for some adventure was waiting for us! Re-starting school in late October in not so clement weather conditions, I would have been surprised to spend an afternoon at Ninian Sands or even more nearby beach…Instead, we found ourselves meandering in and around our local museum and archives in Lerwick. Perfect! The museum houses everything we needed to undertake this shared inner journey. We each  picked a spot, an object, a moment. Delight. We thought of themes, values, packaged the lot in some educational and/or more personal context… Dressed it with questions, pictures. We used our creativity, poetics, to make it happen and found joy in creating our group metasaga. 


Result: two fabulous days. Geopoetics, metasaga in the making. Please click! Shetland Metasaga

What a formidable tool to respond to individuals, young or slightly older to find themselves. Although Kate re-iterarted this was in no way a new concept, she nonetheless packaged it with grace to notably meet the needs of all, including those of our Scottish Curriculum for Excellence. 
Next step? To introduce colleagues and pupils at my school and start sharing all its benefits! It has started. Our world is in motion.

Kenneth White will smile again. We, the intellectual nomads, have an additional way to find our place in the world. 

Metasaga belongs to us.

Please click on this link Metasaga Home

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