That last Tuesday of January
usually rhymes with high spirit throughout the islands’ capital. Friend and now retired line manager, Dorothy Nickerson, reminded me earlier on this afternoon how she remembered a buzz culminating inside the walls of our high school alone, as young Vikings made their way to Lerwick’s frenzy of fire sparked off by men marching with axes & shields throughout the day and with torches that same evening… Tuesday’s sunrise was later felt as an omen, as our skies glowed as if the whole of our galaxy had foreseen what would happen tonight on this grain of rock here on Earth.
da peerie galley
mirrors its big sister one that is being burnt at the centre of the payground situated in King Erik Street. Its first sighting in the front carpark of the Anderson High School generates many smiles of exhilaration. Parents of the members of the school’s Junior Jarl Squad flock on the steps of the school’s main entrance. Pride and excitement reverberate through each other’s eyes. This peerie galley is traditionally awaiting destiny inside the compound of the Islesburgh Community Centre, itself formally an academic establishment built in 1902. Lerwick Junior Up-Helly-Aa 2011
shiny helmets for a special day
The boys are shining in their gear and wear it with such amour-propre, they will mirror the senior Jarl Squad for the rest of the festivities. Meantime, their day of freedom and merryment begin at home, before the eyes of their own school.
Like their elders, they brandish axes and sing the Up-Helly-Aa song… Their self-esteem balloons up further as they are wished the best of day by their broadly smiling head teacher. The Anderson High School is proud of them.
The atmosphere turns electric, as they march through corridors with sheer audacity until breaktime, when they will join in the parade across the town.
And what about that red, red rose?
As the town prepared for fire and non-stop merryment over two days & nights, some favoured toasting to Scotland’s National Bard, as the galley went down in smoke…
Since Burn’s birthday coincided with this year’s Lerwick Up-Helly-Aa, my poet’s heart favoured a toast to the haggis in the warmth of our hearth. Though I paused for a thought for our Junior Vikings, who followed in their elders’ footsteps…
That final Tuesday of January felt like dew on that red, red rose.
sky of fire,
shiny shields in faux fur –
but then again, a red, red rose.
Haiku fae 60N