Category Archives: fire

tribal

Every first Friday of March, as told by the tide, we gather, united by bond and fire, and we celebrate the return of the sun.

#smuha 2017, from Cunningsburgh, with burning at Mail Beach.

 

SMUHA Community 2017

SMUHA 2017 tribe

SMUHA 2017 Community spirit

viking SMUHA 2017 e-

 

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Jul, Yule an aa

earth-spirits There is a date that rhymes with night

On my island, we call da mörkin, it signifies the darkness.

It is when night outweighs daylight so much our sun dares not elevate itself so shamelessly. And by the time we reach Yule, the Winter Solstice, it will just peep out by just a few degrees at its zenith. It will turn so lazy, it will just reach that “magic 5 degrees” and then returns to hide by ten to three.

Nonetheless, we now know we are on a high cliff face that will gradually hoist us back to light. This  word, da mörkin, derives from its Norwegian root, mørke. Like our  neighbours from the deep fjords, we light candles (though we do celebrate St Lucy’s) inside our homes and toast to Yule. A time of merriment around tables, trees and loved ones (for the most fortunates).

ange-e

This year, I have adorned my home a little bit early to make sure I would be ready for Jul, Yule and aa.

With that cosmic slide into da mörkin, December deserves scents and lights, music away from gales, high tides hail stones and skelping rain that falls horizontal.

So I adorned my home with holly and pine cones to welcome Yule. Angels protect my home until Barbara and Conor decide to slip away from our shores. Like my good friends from the great fjords, I will celebrate on the 24th, with a good friend from Burra. And then repeat that Yuletide feast on the 25th in the comfort of my home, as my friend will join me in the afternoon… We shall sample a few goodies so seasonal and hope for both a little clemence from the sky. I know my Norskie friends will taste the same, as what they named Julestorm affect them too.We share that northern hellery after all… Just 24 hours delay between us.

Here,

my very best wishes for a peaceful festive season, less terror from a sickened world – light to those who need it most. Everyday I light candles to remember that darkness can be vainquished – that there is light at the end of tunnels.

And ultimately,

a piece for Jul, Yule an aa

God Jul på deg fra meg,

Godt nytt år,

og, så fint…

Eg drøymer om ditt land,

da cast iron stove at da farm, print fae da red deer ida snaa –

da peerie owl an blackie afore da day,

frozen apple fae dy gairden.

God Jul på dere fra

Shetland,

whaar da gale soonds a hellery, an

da spindrift flies juist laek snø

ida mörkin.

VENNLIG HILSEN fra

øy min.

 

In English, it notably translates:

 

Happy Yuletide from me to you,

Happy new year,

so fine,

I am dreaming of your land,

your cast iron stove at the farm, print from the red deer in the snow –

the small owl and the blackbird at dawn, frozen apple from

your garden.

Happy Yuletide to you all from

Shetland,

where the storm sounds so bad and vile, and

saltbuds flies like snow in

the darkness.

With all my love from this

island of mine.

 

© NatHall 2016

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impromptu 

    
If I went wild on Saturday with my gang of kindred spirits right on the edge of the island, admiring with awe the raw beauty of returning Red-Throated Divers reinstated on their summer lochs & lochans, those everlasting mesmerising cliffs battered by time, salt & ocean, and listened to skylarks at the narrowest isthmus- yes, the world famous Mavis Grind – where the strongest of us might be able to throw a stone in both the North Sea & Atlantic, Sunday was tossed like a pancake, with Force 12 winds battering us as if we were still in winter…

To sum it up, here comes a short piece from my pen.

Easter by the Hearth

Wild, 

impromptu, 

unwanted gale that

tossed our season inside out –

my westside windows 

filled with salt,

I imagine

silent skylarks

tucked in imaginary grass

voar needs to weave

in between 

storms

and

seas of glass…

Until Monday’s final hours,

body & heart inside Shetland’s

finest of wool.

© Nat Hall 2016 

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burning

  It takes one jarl to lead his squad to beach and flames, and his community to celebrate the return of the sun.

SMUHA is a young fire festival that has now grown to rival with well established ones, such as Delting in the more northern township of Brae.

Every procession is magic, every burning of the galley, mesmerising, every moment, memorable.

   This  year, I shared it with a friend, who came especially for her first experience. She would tell you it is unique.
And it is! The atmosphere, torches, embers and smiles glow inside night.


A moment to savour every time!

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March extraordinaire

   I always have to make things up to distract my heart from this one.
Month of rainbows, dark and tears, March is the wild beast in my head. This year, for the very first time, it feels somewhat different.

Time-tight schedules, activities that keep my soul right off the edge of oblivion, March is flying like a comet.

   Some extraordinary meeting with amazing poets, including freshly former Makar (Scotland’s National Poet) Liz Lochhead – as pictured above – during a night of poetry at the Shetland Library; whilst reconvening with Welsh-born Emma van Woerkom, on a short-stay on the island for our local fire festival (SMUHA) proved so much light and breaths of fresh air!   

 Such two slices of life took me temporarily from my ivory tower,  as Compass Head is mutating into a book 🙂

     Light has returned on the island, and with it, the spirit of #voar, “planting season” as we know it on the windswept, wild 60N latitude.
There’s still a few miles to go, but it looks bright till publication. 

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Valentine inside Ice

  
On the fourteenth morning of the second month, my latitude sprinkled with ice.

As I watched snow fly, each flake reminded me of winter, and then, one shrieking call of the blackbird, which, in turn, inspired this poem.

Valentine inside Ice

That thin layer of icicles on

every inch of your garden has petrified

water & song of the blackbird.

Those arpeggios 

they hold so deep inside their heart

still fear raw sharpness of winter,

blunt edge of mid-February,

lace,

epic layer of crystals on

every branch of your pine trees,

fur cone, needle…

Still far too shy to set them free.

That elusive outburst of

love, primal 

showcase of desire 

in between blue & icicles

still needs the sun.

It is the song I want to hear.

And if you too 

could let notes fly,

reveal true meaning in your

smiles, and find your

way out of winter,

and leave your

prints on

my 

stone wall,

I would sing back in unison.

© Nat Hall 2016 

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veritas 

  
What do we know of a people sheltered from old Roman dogma?

Isolated from old scriptures that shackled man off his own heart?

The Norsemen  lived under such terms, lived their own lives, free as the wind, so unafraid…

   
They treasured beliefs to the sea, where they would reach their Valhalla. To them, death had its own meaning, glorious to their reputation. 

Immortality through men’s songs… 

Here, as a song to their greatness, 

some brand fresh verse, in time for bed and your own dreams.
Viking 

They say

history down to us…

Like a

river of fire, 

they never feared alien God – 

whatever raid was meant to be, 

in the name of

skin trade & gold, what mattered 

was reputation.

Swing an axe or

a heavy oar,

everything done, 

forever written in your bones. 

© Nat Hall 2016

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