Victor Hugo had cried for her in his foreword… And it took a book (“Notre Dame de Paris“) to trigger major restoration works, as the elderly lady was notably suffering from severe erosion to time, history and the elements.
What happened last night felt totally surreal. Notre-Dame has survived so many ordeals – human assaults, the hands from time – and during those 850 years (or so), she saw a city grow and thrive.
Inside her so many memories. Her world famous bell – le bourdon – became associated with so many events (including the liberation of Paris in 1944) happy or sad… And against all odds, she has been standing in this Parisian sky.
Last night, my heart bled at the news, and this orange-grey cloud – flames from her heart, as the 19th century spire yielded to a raging fire that engulfed the forest – this nickname given to those 1300 oak trees that served as timber frame to support that huge slate roof.
Like millions of people around the world, I watched powerless, in disbelief, and heaved the following poem, as a tribute or way to cope with shock.
Ô Notre Dame, ta forêt brûle, ton coeur en flammes!
Une forêt de chênes de cent mètres de long, une forêt de chênes charpentée par des anges, une forêt de chênes anoblie par les âges;
toute une nuit orangée a dévoré ta flèche, ton coeur et ta charpente -
une forêt de chênes, maison pour un bossu et son Esméralda...
toute une nuit d'horreur, pluie battante d'ardoises retrouvées en poussière à l'issue d'un déluge -
une forêt de chênes au XXIe siècle toute réduite en cendres,
ton coeur, ce cher poumon, au plus proche des âmes.
The tidal loch remains frozen at Wadbister on New Year’s Day, and it may well stay in this state for a while…
Wadbister is the place where I buried 2017 with good friends & two of their neighbours. I woke up this late morning and breakfasted with my hosts, Sharon and Andy, looking at a brand new sky. Blue, serene, by a garden and bay that homes a wonderful wildlife. If I missed the otter, I was blessed with my first avian visitors – starling, blackbird, sparrow and robin – when an unusual visitor (to our latitude here anyway!) graced the garden, a great tit. What a grand start to the primal day of the year!
By the time I left my friends’ home, a West wind was recolouring the heavens, as light rain showers began to christen the land…
A year of contrasts – a tale of two halves, with its kaleidoscope of emotions – that took my heart across headlands, bays, the English Channel and the North Sea.
A creative year, as it has anchored my pen into this second collection of poetry in the making… Writing on both sides of the North Sea, with a fabulous return to West Norwegian shores last September.
And our descent to Yule marked by the shifting of our AHS to its new 21st building at Lochside, which proved an extraordinary exercise.
Yet October was graced by extraordinary moments, reunions and meetings that began to pave my way into 2018. For this, I feel humble, blessed and grateful to 2017.
Christie Williamson and Hazel Frew, see you both in your great Celtic town in April!
November also graced by new humane and creative connections thanks to friend and poetess Choman Hardi, who made me discover Barbara Cumbers, a kindred spirit based in London, and regular visitor to Shetland. Magic slices of life shared since, including two readings at the Book Fest and in Scalloway.
December crowned by many smiles
The joy of reaching Yule marked with many delights – a poet’s working blurb published in Shetland Life, a poem inside the Yule Issue of the New Shetlander.
The island clad by sun and snow on the eve of a well deserved break.
A peaceful end to a year that felt a real roller coaster, and as the twelfth month was about to draw to an end, a brand new project now at my writer’s table in the translation of a manuscript. Wonderful challenge and task that began on the Eve of Hogmanay.
Thank you, 2017, for your joys and tears, harvest of adventures, new friends across headlands and seas.
Today, on the primal day of the year, there burns a fire in my heart, like a beacon for the twelve months ahead.
Hello, 2018. Let me welcome you with fresh eyes, a shameless smile, heart filled with hopes.
The road ahead feels both very exciting and promising.
A very happy new year to you all, wherever you walk on this amazing planet. May 2018 grant you good health and happiness.
tonight’s gale contained inside my chimney’s conduit. I hate this type of exercise – this woman trapped deep inside me can sometimes shine and find her words.
my galley on fire,
my hellery –
March is a nightmare with
hell, tears & bliss,
March is a month
I learnt to
tarnished with blood,
loss of my future,
a monster in
mechanism turned into
world whirled in
a wind they
Fanaticism, brain washing, indoctrination and ignorance should have no place. And yet… A trio attempted to silence freedom of expression.
It’s like walking backwards… They think they can stop a concept with bullets. Correction: they created a movement of solidarity by spilling blood.
I can’t believe Cabu – who cartooned my every Wednesday afternoon as a teenager – fell among eleven other souls… I can’t come to terms with such act of barbarity in the first place.
Politics can backfire in so many different ways. Terrorism has so many faces.
Yet as one cannot stop terrorism, one cannot equally silence freedom of expression (unless dictatorship overrides democracy).
May the many pencils rise against tyranny – may the world unite
My sympathy goes to all the victims’ families, as well as to all those victim of intolerance, terrorism, fanaticism & oppression of any kind.
My greatest fear resides in the fact some people may be misled by some politicians and vote for even more dangerous political etiquettes… A few 20th century leaders who led their countries to annihilation were elected this way. They (such politicians) feed on this.
common people are not responsible for their government’s foreign & economic policies, as governments are governed in strange ways & obey rules of unreachable mercantile nature (the masses cannot reach) once politicians are elected… (When nations are granted such right to vote).
Democracy has long lost its primeval meaning. And it hurts.
First snow –
bird inside cage, inside darkest of corridor,
winter of all requirements,
on final day of October,
to sing at night
among snowflakes that
come invited on your hair, as we
carve faces from darkness, pale blue lightness of icicles.
We just opened
doors to Samhain, where
thru’ darkest of
With them, winter –
where November seeks through
weak light our long shadows,
tears & final, blood
such a thin veil
as the living
blends with the dead to
feast in peace below first snow.
feast of the dead –
time to reconcile with
ready to dance
with northern lights.
tell me the runes will never lie.
The Federation of Writers (Scotland) is an organisation dedicated to making the written and spoken word available to the public of Scotland, with respect for diversity and recognition of additional support needs. Caidreachas nan Sgrìobhaiche (Alba) ’S e prìomh-amas Caidreachas nan Sgrìobhaiche (Alba) litreachas sgrìobhte is labhairte a chur mu choinneamh poball na h-Alba, a’ toirt spèis do dh’iomadachd agus feumannan-taice a bharrachd.