Category Archives: white

Sick of Soap

My hands are sick of soap.

They look so crissed, wrinkled apples, cracked as a ledge in sandstone cliff, as water erodes when I rinse.

Along the journey, they hold fast, endure sun, gales, seasons and tides,

the pen and hoe, satin and grind;

but every dip in hot water stings as if they delved into nettles, so hurt feels the epidermis, the balm won’t work…

I remember harshness of tools, bucket handles from a past world – slashing juncus or eau de javelle ;

water of death, water of life, survival comes at a high price.

My hands are sick of soap.

They never knew daily gutting from herring days, slyness of blades, the salt furnace from a barrel, but

glass paper, papier de verre – as

yellow liquid daily foamed to wash in haste between lessons. Day after day, weeks, months and terms, to beat what sticks invisible.

Those hands are sick of soap.

Sick of cover-ups, stings and lies… They bleed and peel when they don’t crack; they remind me of Lure Mountain or

Mont Ventoux,

wind-blasted, barren to blunt ice, torrents of fears or acid rain, as dead skin crumbles against nails.

Sick of soap hands cry for respite,

freedom from iron and shackles, that terrible terrorist desease that runs around like wildfire…

They need to heal to work longer.

© NH 2020.

Mont Ventoux

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Filed under 2020, 60N, Arcania, blogging, CO-VIDtimes, Compass_Head, geopoetics, humanity, life, poetry, shetland, shore, spirit, verse, white, wishes, writing


When writers meet,  share and offer work, words and more,  Poetics shine.  

On the ninth day of July,  such thing was done.  Inside the stones of the long house,  by the harbour, we gathered on shiny floorboards on the first floor, where a mix of faces beamed with delight.

Familiar ones – Kevin, Doug, Marsali, James and Debra… And then new ones who smiled and unleashed most kind words.  Among them,  the co-editor of Shetland  Create, Angie,   the grand orchestrator of it all, welcomed us all, eager to meet us in the flesh. 

What a splendid night we all had. 

One by one we shared words created on the very island where we walk and draw inspiration from.  

With such theme as home,  selected verse from Compass Head felt so very apt on the night.

Fabulous slice of life shared in the warmth of Lerwick’s Peerie Shop Café – a place where I still come to write – in fabulous company. 

Angie’s feeling so very much shared.  Here,  the night in her own words: 

Now we are connected.

…to Jacqui Clark’s clunk 😇

Havra,  celebrated once more, shining in the limelight, this time thanks to Scottish poet Sally Evans via her blog & brainchild, keeppoemsalive,  and featured along other poets Sally enjoys. 

Connected to the great Scottish family one more time. 

Happy poet 🙂


Filed under 2016, 60N, Arcania, arts, blogging, celebration, collaboration, Compass_Head, earth, geopoetics, island, launch, lerwick, literature, magazine, norman, north, poet, poetry, poets, scotland, shetland, spirit, update, verse, verse poetry, white, writing

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,


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


stone wall,

I would sing back in unison.

© Nat Hall 2016 


Filed under 60N, Arcania, colours, earth, fire, geopoetics, home, island, life, literature, music, north, poet, poetry, scotland, shetland, shore, snow, spirit, verse, white, winter, wordplay



blue on the orange cloud


rune of ice,
written as I,
in prey to time, there,
found in blue boreal forest,
rooted inside depth of winter,
where frost records
prints of our souls in icicles.
As you descend into
our world,
trees bear homage to
your static sense of ego –
they may recite those words for
snow, so many eyes
deep in cold air,
born of lone
clouds in
a blind
That woman’s voice in
the forest, with
a piano,
her child
turn in a snowflake.

© Nat Hall 2015


August 26, 2015 · 11:20 pm


On the third day of February, whiteworld (tainted slight blue) has arrived in our land. It is both harsh & majestic, with sub-Arctic temperatures.
Yet so serene. Snowflakes yielding to gravity in their perfect lightness & symmetry. They nearly fall horizontal.
Here, in the background, I hear music very gentle, 50 Words For Snow – it feels so comforting.
Outside, my world battles against the elements, claws & fangs from February’s wolverine spirit.
It is snowing again.






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Filed under 60N, Arcania, colours, earth, geopoetics, home, images, introduction, island, north, scotland, shetland, shore, snow, spirit, white, wind, winter, world, writing

Stravaig Issue 2 is OUT!

iced haylor Stop Press: Stravaig Issue 2 is out!

Happy reading 🙂

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Filed under 2013, celebration, geopoetics, images, poet, poetry, poets, shore, spirit, spring, white, world, writing

the hitcher


I spent so many nights on the roadside, I came back home with a lantern.

Miles of darkness, cloaked inside white, with an ankle strapped to endure grit and tarmac, the very edge of the known world – with resilience as an ally, I made my way amidst hitchers, kindred spirits. On my way home, I found all sorts of cars and other four-wheeled vehicles. Apocalyptic, teenagers’, knitted (aye, a very Shetland tradition) – even a Volvo filled with free running spirits that came alive as dancers glided through darkness – amazing cars and occupants. A camper van so hospitable… And a bus. A bus filled with wild stories. “Through the window, I can see, I can see, I can see…”

I braved the unknown after dusk and dared to knock on car windows – hopped my north in between Brae and Cullivoe, via Bigton, Levenwick & Ninian – where theatres are void of walls; where The White Wife (originally from the most northerly isle of Unst) waves at lone cars, eyes and hitchers. She too travels in the same way. In any case, she seems to protect


us with one reassuring waving hand. And then we find her once again inside a village hall, where she serves tea & ignites smiles


with her army of white aproned choir-waiters. each journey starts without control.

Have you ever wondered about strange and peculiar things that happen through your life? Your car or sense of ignition? Have you ever noticed how life can sometimes fall under a spell or a strange jinx?

Such was my own journey in the past months… Funny how tarmac turns into the middle of nowhere – a headland or a precipice. You never know till you taste tarmac and the kerbs. “Sit back and enjoy the ride!”


As a hitcher,

I find my way in between junctions & ferry terminals. From Hay’s Dock to Cullivoe, via narrow roads, miles of  dreamt cats’ eyes, white lines and stops. I, forgotten ghostly figure, suddenly turn storyteller, who sometimes waves at The White Wife… Meet with others who have their own story to share,

whatever they carry with them – a broken shoe, heart, or milk jug…

a frozen trow, gnome, skimming stone,

camera or ukulele…

In the footsteps

of one

white wife.


And then,

the Final Gathering.

NTS IGNITION Community ProjectWe all gathered for a last leg of ignition, inside the middle of nowhere, where we could burn and ask where next…

Dancer, hitcher, storyteller, free runner-performer, choir-waiter or musician.

We shared our words through the beauty of ignition,

made new songs, drank tea & soup,

thanked hosts and friends,

and sang our hearts out to the world.

Some felt a new journey has begun. It is my case. Let us define the next stretch of road 🙂

IGNITION through CAR YARNS – with shared notable words:

Road runner –
roaring rubber & clicking clutch,
red scent of dead flesh on tarmac…
#haiku fae #60N

Boy racer –

to every change of gear,
quartet of ravens by the road.
#haiku fae #60N

Stitch-hiker –
needles off the speedometers,
I knit,you knit by the roadside.
#haiku fae #60N

Shiny alloys,
rings of fire on wet tarmac,
cyclops’ eyes
with numbers inside
circles of chrome –
somebody left
cold wax on hazelnut dashboard.
#micropoetry fae #60N

Now, let me enjoy my lantern 🙂


Filed under 2013, 60N, celebration, fire, geopoetics, haiku, home, images, island, life, north, poetry, project, shetland, spirit, spring, white, writing

IGNITION, as seen by others

Fabulous string of press reviews for NTS Ignition – from local to national level!20130324-095605.jpg

Such a magic show and so great to be part of it all!

Local level: Shetland NewsShetland Times

National Level: The ScotsmanThe TelegraphThe Times

with greetings from the hitchers!


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Filed under 2013, 60N, celebration, geopoetics, island, north, poetry, project, review, white, writing

on my way to Yuletide

Yule Spirit Friend, columnist & writer Marsali Taylor offered me an e- advent calendar to help me go through the dark times of December. Even though religion’s not my thing, I embraced her present with a certain degree of joy, for I know it came from her heart. Marsali’s just like me – a tough cookie when it comes to be resilience in life; a great spirit and a heck of a pirate when it comes to seafaring! Haha, my dear Marsali, yes, am talking about you! Where did our friendship begin? Was it at The Westside Writers’ Group? I love the way our lives entwine – from words to pages into  books. In have to confess Death on a Long Ship will travel with me this Yuletide. It may travel by air instead of sea, but I shall delve into it away from the island.

For the very first time in years, there will be no holly wreath on my door. Twenty sleeps left until my familiar shore and favourite sandbridge roar away from my feet.

frosty morning If I’m longing to re-unite with loved ones, I am enjoying each sunrise & sunset from my lofty latitude – every moment of now that bathes inside light – let it be glimpses from a low-lit sun, beam or candle. Sunrise remains my favourite moment, as dawn vanishes with Venus. Whether I enjoy it from the heights of Setter (looking SE towards Mousa, or from The Sletts in Lerwick, it is precious, like a rare stone. I can never imagine a moment away from the edge of my world without light… However the low the sun may glow, currently flirting the edge of my horizon, it is a star that defines us, you & I, on this Earth. Today, in the face of more Arctic conditions, I adorned the edge of the composter with nailed apples, for the starlings, that (like pirates) dilapidate the dangling bird food for sparrows I had attached to tree branches on the previous morning. Mister Robin joined in the feast.  How delightful! Sadly, I have not heard the wren for a while… And as my world neared roosting time, I counted over twenty garden birds perching on the alders & roses, feasting like kings and quarrelling like kids (!) The price of survival in such harsh conditions remains a daily set of jousts. Earlier on this afternoon, in between snow showers,  I littered my area of No man’s land with unwanted soup leftovers. My avian friends are not fussy and will accept all offerings! Gripped inside a thin layer of ice, the grass felt like cardboard when treading on long blades.

my nordic shore I imagined a winter’s tide, when the Atlantic wrecks the very bed in the shoormal and vomits kelp, like a greedy Pantagruel.  Master Rabelais (with whom I humbly share my birthday!) still echoes in my heart, after all those years away from my lycée years in Aix-en-Provence, where, Madame Silve, my French Literature teacher, introduced us to such giant, who, like his father had impressed me. The very essence of geopoetics from this time… Walking the shore after a storm rekindles light. I promised myself to walk that edge before I go.


Collaborative work with Jacqui Clark (NTS Ignition) and with James Mackenzie (ArtiPeep’s Project) are flourishing with grace. Verse has reached each artist and creation can follow. As for the verse collection with D Allard from New Brunswick, Canada, I wait for words from Broken Jaw Press. Look for it at the bottom page. Until tide turns, the hyperlink sleeps in shallows… Twenty sleeps till the magic of Yuletide, with unknown rocks along the shore. I’ll always love the dark jade sea, from wherever I stand. Must be flowing inside my Norman veins. 🙂


Filed under 2012, 60N, Arcania, atlantic, colours, december, earth, geopoetics, home, island, poets, project, snow, white, winter, writing

Have you read… Stravaig#1?

Stravaig Issue 1


Filed under 2012, celebration, earth, geopoetics, kenneth, poets, shore, Uncategorized, white, writing