Category Archives: 2015

Jul, Yule

     There is magic around every solstice & equinox. 

This year’s winter solstice is no different. I must thank my angels. On this occasion, he has a very earthly name, as Andy, for opening an unexpected door…

Andy is better known in WordPress as City Jackdaw. A fine poet, the  writer and fellow blogger, he is also an author & a friend.

Andy, THANK YOU ☺️ 

My poetry has now a home. Nordicblackbird has found her roost.

How magical and somewhat surreal to know a friendship struck in such way would lead to be united & bound by a same publishing house.

I feel ever so humble. 

What a wonderful Yule present 🙂

My forthcoming break (starting tomorrow afternoon) is all sorted out: that first manuscript will reach the Norwegian capital! 

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environmental

Power of place, 

Because we live on an extraordinary planet, we celebrate her poetics.

Kindred spirit & Environmental artist, Ruth Macdougall, toils inside the same streamline 🙂

Here, her website

   

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noir

   “Turn off the light, switch on a starry night…”

Noir, as November might predict. And if winter makes us reflect upon the dead, it is a time for us, living, to remember light in darkness. 

Under that category, the world could feel a frozen garden. Whereas sleet, hail and snow batter the island in a horizontal manner, people fall, cry, fight wherever human bestiality strikes. The horrors of terrorism bear so many faces & masks.   

Humanity feels in a state of emergency. 

Our planet, our homeworld, our cradle of life, will turn our grave. This is Noir, without fiction. 

Have we forgotten who we are, and where we live?   

Are we missing the boat? Are we too shackled to money to risk such perilous gambling? On reading the French press, we are heading towards our end. 

Noir,

Le Point.fr – COP21 : les lignes rouges des pays-clés dans les négociations.

Tour d’horizon des points de blocage pour chacun des pays les plus influents pour la conclusion d’un accord sur le climat à Paris.

Le Point newspaper reads noir. As if we were doomed like the lost civilisations who were incapable to save themselves in ancient times. It tastes rotten deep in my heart. Maybe a handful of humans are solely blindly driven by greed and are prepared to take that road. Gosh,  how selfish and masochistic. Do they know there is no way back, and nowhere else to go? This alone would feel a crime against humanity.

   

Talking of crime, Shetland hosted its first literary Noir Festival in November, as part of Iceland Noir.

   For a weekend, selected authors gathered at Mareel, and shared with the public. Helmed by friend & fellow Westside Writer Marsali Taylor, we grabbed the oar and added a rivet to clinker by launching our unique noir anthology, as part of a book launch event shared with Marsali’s latest crime fiction opus. On a more personal note, and with the Beyrout & Paris shootings in the backdrop, it felt a very strange weekend.  

Noir as man’s brilliance & blindness. 

Noir is a path I do not like by nature. It feels sordid and dangerous.

When I think Noir, movies like Sir Ridley Scott’s Bladerunner & Luc Besson’s (satyrical) Fifth Element come to my mind. 

I can only hope we are not heading into total blackness. 

Hello, Earth 

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magician

seckou [4]Seckou Keita returned to the island, with his koras, smiles and magic. A privilege, I felt, deep in my heart, as his hands began to weave the most ethereal sounds out of those 22 strings, fisher’s, musician’s dream. The man has a story to tell, fingers & voice to unleSeckou [3]ash. To listen to him and his beautiful vibes from Casamance, Senegal, blended with hints of nomadic spirit from his native Africa to Wales, is a delight. A joy to treasure in your heart. calebasse If you have not yet discovered his art, please, go find it!

To listen to the magician live remains a privilege.

With grateful thanks to Shetland Arts for bringing Seckou, as well as Gwyneth to the island. Magic moment tonight.

What a fabulous way to slide from Hairst – the harvest season – to the start of winter. Happy Samhain, everyone 🙂

Gwyneth [1] OCT 2015Seckou [2]And in response to his great show at Lerwick’s Art Centre, Mareel, a short poem woven from his music.
Fisherman’s Strings

Hear his fingers on stretched nylon –

Calebasse-skin from 

Casamance,

each note travels through

waves & wind,

inside his heart shines Sénégal,

his grand father’s wisdom

so sharp,

the 

taste of

dust South of his dreams;

his father’s eyes 

locked inside

his,

travelling chords of he-nomad,

toute la souffrance des 

harpistes.

© Nat Hall 2015 

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solidarity

It takes courage to speak out loud from the tip of an island.
Who are we to raise voices when all seems fine? Or is it? For years on end, people flee wars, in an attempt to save their lives. For months on end, the wheel of news feed us garbage—  by this, I insist on political spoon feeding on TV screens and newspapers… Where viewers and readers are bombarded with highly controlled news, (namely “intox”)
And then, it takes one image, one single shot of a toddler by the edge of the sea. The ball’s rolling.
For the second time, my pen responded to a world scale crisis. Call me an idealist (or a dreamer), but nobody wants to find themselves fleeing from war zones, or hanging between life and death at some railings by a frontier or a headland… Or a tunnel.
To this effect,
I was solicited to write and share verse, by friend & event coordinator, Wendy Sinclair, a month ago. The event, “Solidarity Through Music”, took place on Saturday 24 October 2015 in Lerwick, and gathered a palette of amazing local talent – including The Donald Anderson Band, Lisa Ward and The Dirty Lemons to name but a few – among which I, the only poet, was invited to perform.
Always daunting when in a crowd of musicians! Yet I rose to the challenge. …After all, performing among musicians, bands, is turning a kind of habit, since Open Mic Nights at Mareel Café feature mostly the sung voice.

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What an experience! The atmosphere was fantastic. The audience turned up in good numbers (by Shetland standards) through the eight-hour entertainment marathon, gave generously through applause and money. Today, I learnt that the event raised over £1000.00 in donations and raffle ticketing… It may not read very impressive, however, it adds to the continuous generosity of island folk when it comes to humanitarian crisis. Already, folk have donated in kind – shoes, clothing, tents, sleeping bags, etc. – earlier on in the year, in an effort to help the stranded  refugees by Calais.
Shetland Supporta Refugees is well active.

Here, my humble contribution to the effort, through two stand-alone pieces, The Rift and One World, One Tribe.
Am a humanist with a pen, and so happy to contribute to such event. With renewed thanks to Wendy for including my work among the day, as well as to Alan McKay for the introduction.

We may live on the fringe of a troubled continent, but we listen to world distress.

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mapped

  My flair served me right once more. To dull Saturday afternoon, I felt compelled to find out how the world’s cartographers, marine charters and surveyors – from the Antiquities to the past century – looked at this corner of the realm.
Thule, no longer a mystery.

    

 

Through centuries & millennia, mariners have relied to hydrographic charters for navigation, and search for safe passages.

      
  I love the way those surveyors shaped the islands, and even if wars stimulated needs of monarchs – or politicians & merchants – the Dutch remained rhe champions of all marine charters! 

  
And for those of you, lucky enough to visit my local museum in Letwick, Da Gadderie celebrates the life & work of James Robertson, the Shetlander who mapped Jamaica.

  
What a fabulous insight into the world of maps
 

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viking

IMG_0799Not an occupational hazard, but a marvellous world, where we, poets, writers and artists, mingle and collaborate to bring alive our heritage.

This weekend, somewhere in Norfolk, at King’s Lynn Hanse House, a multi-disciplinary collaborative project – entitled The Nine Realms – is celebrating the Viking world. It is the fruit from a wonderful tree, curated and nurtured by Nicky Mortlock c/o ArtiPeeps. It has brought together a long boat load of writers and artists, as well as a boat (head) carver and Millfield School – younglings, who have been participating to the project in their own words.

Two links here, should you wish to acquire a copy of The Nine Realms’ Poetry Book, and or The Nine Realms’ School Book. Now, and if you are lucky enough to visit Norfolk – King’s Lynn this weekend and/or Norwich Library – where there will be poetry read by the poets present there on Monday – please do go along and leave your prints in the guest book! I, the poet based on my 60N latitude, am here in spirit.

“Vikings Ahoy!”, Nicky and all!

Have a marvellous time, everyone!

nine realms8

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