Category Archives: wordplay

Vagvísir

Now, to a darker one…

Have you chosen your place of death?

Is it in the shade of blossoms, 

where the 

wind 

blows to carry words

no 

one will 

know? Or 

is it outside a

lighthouse – where 

whiteness stands so 

close to

gold,

where

maalies* glide,

the great wild bairn* 

free and 

shameless?

Now, in

the 

eye of

the compass,

you see the meaning of

your birth –

your talisman 

in between breasts,

the 

tattoo of

staves in circles;

what’s left of

It lives inside you,

deep inside

the womb of the dead, and 

yet you need me

as a

guide – as

no one points to

their last 

breath.
Notes:

(From Shetland dialect)

maalies: fulmar petrels 

bairn: child 
© Nat Hall 2016 

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Filed under 60N, Arcania, geopoetics, home, island, life, literature, north, poet, poetry, scotland, shetland, shore, spirit, verse, verse poetry, vikings, winter, wordplay

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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Armistice Week 2014

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One hundred years on,
10 million dead,
another 10 million crippled, too many headstones… Vanished hearts – brothers, fathers, uncles, cousins… My great grand father, Pépé Duval, was a stretcher-bearer on his country’s battlefields, lunar landscapes… He, like millions of men, was thrown into a carnage, brain-washed by a propaganda led by warmongers. He was lucky enough to return home, twice gassed and deeply scarred for the rest of his life, shell-shocked…

One hundred years on,
How can we forget?

Some politicians (at least in France) attempted to “turn the page” by declaring we should drop the bucket… Sorry, we have a duty to honour those who were sacrificed against their full will. Nobody wishes to endure what so many million men endured in horrid conditions… I recently read that, in some cases, 1 1/2 mile recovered in No Man’s Land cost well over 200,000 lives. That is more than sacrifice, this is a crime against humanity.
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Over the course of such week, leading to Remembrance Day on 9 November around the UK, the Anderson High School, my school, has honoured all those fallen in and around Western Europe.

1200 North Islanders on the Orkney & Shetland respective Rolls of Honour…

One hundred years on.

No one wants a return to hatred & carnage, deep bleeding of nations.
My recent visit to Northern Germany with 22 pupils from the AHS reconnects ties between peoples, hence breaking down barriers, ignorance, fears.
We are all connected through various ways – sea, fish, herring, history, heritage. Our own language alone has been forged inside an incredible melting pot – metamorphic, enriched by words that included old German ones, brought over by the people who came to settle and trade on the land in the first place. We must not forget that either.

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We commemorate our own, however, with one hundred years on, my heart also feels for all those who perished in blind madness (war of attrition).
Military, civilians, irrespective of colour, religion, gender, or island -ethnic origin, continent, nationality.

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On such occasion, I was invited to contribute to two events – a creative writing project within a collective, and, reading my own work from such project on the school tannoy.
And so I did.
I therefore let Wildred Owen’s Dulce ET Decorum Est for my own piece entitled Ricochets, a poem which sits within a suite of verse & flash fiction created during this autumn thanks to a project called “1914 and all that”, a joint partnership between the Shetland Museum & Archives and Shetland Arts.

Ricochets resonated in the hearts of many 21st century AHS pupils, who shared their reactions throughout the day.

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Touched & happy they could reach out to one another, pupils & words.
One hundred years on,
let us all remember.

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So, in honour of all victims of the conflict, as well as a “taster” to the event at Wordplay 2014, here is the piece I shared a hundred years later.

Ricochets

Devil’s in the trench,
scavenging round the Earth –
against sandbags,
school, chapel walls or parapets, through cloth of brand new uniforms, grey, khaki, blue –
across cornfields
somebody ploughed in hope for bread,
where boys ventured to kill
boredom away from home in
a bull-ring*,
they remind me of
skimming stones,
light on the loch,
summer, crane flies…
Sleek impromptu or
intruder,
hum-buzz-quick hiss,
whizz, woosh and plop,
to find their way deep inside mud or
in between innocent eyes,
an unknown name
turned animal inside a trench,
who dreamt of blackbirds and angels…

© Nat Hall 2014

Notes: Bull-ring: the famous infamous Bull-ring, training camp in Étaples, where harsh conditions were common place. (Source: Robert M Creig, Doing His Bit, Shetland Times, 1999-2003)

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I think my great grand father would approve of not only my verse, but my thoughts as a whole.

Thank you,
Donald, Brian & Jon.

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update for a creative date

shetland arts logo presents Wordplay 2014 

Bookmark it,

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make a date:

Tuesday 11 November 2014,

a venue: 2nd Floor Meeting Room, Mareel, Lerwick, and a time: 1900-2100 GMT

Book your ticket at The Lerwick Box Office… Come along and enjoy 🙂

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out

Transformations

ArtiPeeps’ 15 month collaboration between world poets & artists – celebrated on 12-14 September at Hanse House in King’s Lynn, Norfok, England, edited by the Project’s Curator, now comes to you in its printed form.
Ovid’s Metamorphoses revisited and fit for our 21st Century world.

Just click on the link and order your copy.
It will transform you!

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From Shore to Shoormal at Wordplay 2013

20131231-024959.jpg Peerie (short) visual momento “de taille” for a trans-Atlantic adventure at the Shetland Book Festival 2013. Poet & Publisher made this festival “international” 🙂 FESTIVAL PROMOTIONAL VIDEO 2013 Really treasuring that moment.

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February 13, 2014 · 10:23 pm

flashback

nat and joe at mareel sep 2012 e-Looking back, listening back. I treasure this moment forever. Emotions in an eclectic bouquet. Faces, eyes, smiles. Known, unknown. Full house. And still some trying to get in… Darkish venue, with lights mounted on the wall on either side of the white screen. Steve’s magical accordion, Alan’s guitar to set the tone. And Joe’s soft voice, reassuring.

Here, here, FROM SHORE TO SHOORMAL BOOK LAUNCH on 1 September 2013

As if you were here / comme si vous y étiez 🙂

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