Tag Archives: verse

poets in arms

auld enemies 1They came, they shared, they went…

Let’s re-phrase.

They came, they spoke, we shared, they went… We are now connected.

Visiting poets on our home turf – Mareel, Lerwick, Shetland for a few hours – met with familiar faces, thanks to Shetland Art’s Literature Development Officer, Donald Anderson. On a particular trail, that of “Auld Enemies“, the brainchild of Steven J Fowler and Ryan Van Winkle, who notably brought along Colin Herd and Ross Sutherland in the Green Room where a few dared to step for an hour of poetry. Their six date tour around Scotland – taking in Dundee, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Lerwick, and Kirkwall – concluded in London.

So we, the featured Shetland poets, L.J. Friedlander, D.S. Murray, J.A, Sinclair and I, joined our visiting poets in some battles of the spoken word before we ceased fire, chatted and smiled. Unique, electric, unusual & memorable event which enabled us to share in a different format, and, for James & I to actually write together for the first time since we have been united by literature. My thanks go to Steven and Ryan for providing such an opportunity. With very best wishes for the upcoming Auld Enemies – Ireland!!! 🙂

auld enemies 2014  friedlander auld enemies Murrayauld enemies hall + sinclairauld enemies 2014 herd + fowlerauld enemies sutherland + van wrinkle

Auld Enemies, Shetland 2014 - Photo courtesy of Steven J Fowler

Auld Enemies, Shetland 2014 – Photo courtesy of Steven J Fowler

What a trek! Before they came to us, they had pit-stopped in Aberdeen, where they blended with other familiar faces & voices, including those of Catriona McLeod and Haworth Hodgkinson – then they stayed a couple of days, to ensure Mr Melville was okay again – and then they joined in other familiar faces in Kirkwall, notably including Pam Beasant.

My thanks go to Steven and Ryan for providing such an opportunity, as well as to Donald Anderson & Shetland Arts for making it happen on our latitude.

With very best wishes for the upcoming Yes But Are We Enemies? -an Irish Enemies Project

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Bastille Day – a warm blue sky shines above my head on this very day, there is a sense of freedom, filled with birdsong, a gentle breath of SW’Lies… wonder day 🙂 Once a  prison as well as a symbol of oppression where folk ended up (included Voltaire himself!) in the face of utter despotism, the name “Bastille” is remembered as a symbol for a people’s uprising  against injustice, and is today an Opera. I think monsieur Voltaire would applaud to this 🙂

On this 14 July, my much more hbastille dayumble (and yet state-of-the-art) arts’ venue, Mareel,  is hosting the Shetland leg of Auld Enemies – the brainchild of poets Steven J Fowler & Ryan Van Winkle – in which tourist and local poets will set fire to Shetland with groundbreaking work, and we intend to have a blast!

As presented by Shetland Arts: a transnational poetry collaboration where six poets will work in rolling pairs to produce original works for readings across the breadth of Scotland. Each event will also feature numerous pairs of writers from the region, who will be presenting brand new poetry collaborations as well. Auld Enemies is a groundbreaking exploration of contemporary Scottish poetics through the potential of collaboration.

Featuring poets:

– Ross Sutherland
– Nick-e Melville
– Colin Herd
– SJ Fowler
– Ryan Van Winkle,
– Nat Hall
– James Sinclair
– Donald Murray
– Laura Jayne Friedlander & more

Auld Enemies is fundamentally about the creation of new collaborative works and the integration of differing poetic communties, and has only been possible through the generosity of a series of organisational partners, first and foremost Creative Scotland but also the Scottish Poetry Library, Literary Dundee, Summerhall, Shetland Arts, the Orkney Islands Council and Northlink Ferries.

The vibes so far are just thrilling to hear. We are next!

So, if you are still without a ticket for this free event, grab one at the Mareel Box Office!

We are looking forward to seeing you tonight 🙂

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Without question, verse from the dark side of the moon, as I spend moments inside black, in contemplation with absence – in meditation with a question mark.

How do you deal with solitude?
The other day in the classroom, I stared at Morgan’s poetry, stapled among a sea of blue background paper.
There, a carefully cut hyena, with a few lines from his poem.

And then, this line – I am the slave of darkness. The rest emerged from my black pen…

Whereas, part one deals with such folklore creature, part two & three zoom in further into fur & animal print.

This triptych is entitled:Werewulf

With grateful thanks to Edwin Morgan’s Hyena.

Late old English.

I am darkness,
I am the dark side of the blue,
I am so afraid of colours,
I am the killer of
twilight –

I am the howler,

I am the sharp ivory fangs

I am the saliva heaver,
I am orange eyed inside black,
I am the hunchback of bleak lands,
where heather burns but never blooms;

I am manimal nocturnal,
the outsider with

I am intruder in

I am the slave in darkness


heavily built,
short-legged meat eater with
a long coat, brown in
bushy-tailed –
native to
tundra & forests,

Gulo gulo,
deep inside white.


an impression of five fingers
on a rock face,

digital dream,
a signature left to

dactylographic formula.

© Nat Hall 2014


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I love “creative” accidents.

A day dreamer par excellence, I sometimes lock myself inside a page and lose utter track of time. Such accident certainly happened yesterday late afternoon as I settled on a brown sofa facing Hay’s Dock. Rain was tap dancing on flagstones & roof tops, sliding in a nonchalant manner against Mareel’s long glass panes.
By the time James walked by, little did I know I was just about to return to the Lerwick Writers. And what better timing, as I was polishing a piece inspired & initially scribbled in haste at the end of the school day. James led me to the meeting room where I reconvened with both new & familiar faces, including friend & fellow poet Christian S Tait. Boannie night of fine prose, poetry & song, as Donald Anderson freed the guitar from its sarcophagus.

The pieces I shared with the group rubberbanded down to South Africa (Madiba Forever) and pre-70 Glasgow, with this latest poem entitled Lollipop Lass.
It is a much darker, abrasive piece in a free-style form, which emanating from a social history lesson & a 1961 picture of the Old Gorbals, Glasgow’s notorious slums (now gone).

Amazing as the mind works, but the poem currently reads as follows,

Lollipop Lass

Whatever colour of gutter,
squalid Gorbals or
sordid stairs,
she comes flying
down in a
kingfisher to
satisfy hunger from
sap, white nectar, opium for
Whatever hour of
day, night,
she spends
minutes at her
dresser, put on eyelashes,
eyeliner, a bit of rouge
after sunset
eau-de-toilette to
let her forget of pavements,
green graffiti sprayed,
dogs’ urine,
triple X cans in
drunk hands,
dark south banks from
mystical Clyde.
teaser, tosses
pleasure like a pancake.

© Nat Hall 2014

The theme is certainly unusual, and such choice somewhat surprised the assembly. However, it got me out of my comfort zone and it also allowed the exploration of much darker avenues. Furthermore, the piece was well received.

All in all, a very pleasant night 🙂


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Who said mathematics was void of poetics?
I dedicate this triptych to Mademoiselle Wuscher, my most human teacher of maths, back in Pertuis, Provence (1983-84) – as well as my peerie African sister, who embraced them as poetry 🙂
Thales & Pythagoras deciphered the mystics with flair.

Here, as shared with both the Westside Writers & then my peerie sister from the heart , as well as in anticipation to tomorrow’s Higher Mathematics’ exam for all pupils: (as inspired from a recent Prelim)


blue morning light on
Bressay Sound,
cheery starlings chuckle
in style,
wrestle with pi,
between questions,
rippled silence –
eyes wander
parallel worlds:
wired cherry trees for Japan,
leaning giraffe,
red Australia…
through sashed
world –
stretch of
blue dividing isles,
rolling backbones on green
hillsides, where stones
shelter wrens
from gales,
holds your
heart with two hands,
I’ll frame Friday through that window.
In true spirit,
Je suis l’enfant de Claude Roy,
celui qui battait la

Claude Roy: French poet & essayist (1915-1997)

———————– 18/4/2014

Prelim –
algebraic world from
deeper space,
stikkit mist,
nebulae –
so many sighs in a cold room.
#micropoetry #geopoetics fae #60N


Mathematica –
too many letters,
squared or
let loose around
x + 3
a factor of cubic expression.

With renewed thanks to Shetland Times‘ Columnist Doug Forrest for the kind words below:




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Poetry by Candlelight


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March 28, 2014 · 1:23 pm


Glimmer of light as a smile from our nearest star.
Feel good factor, as night & day turn into twins in perfect halves…
Yet in the calendar of our homeworld, not quite the beginning of spring, but half-way through to longer days 🙂
Here, to celebrate our passage through this Vernal Equinox,
words I hope will make you smile.

Spring sky has ways to
welcome spring,
out with a
dash of
morning rain,
light hint of blue
in between
yarn fae late gale,
earth great prompter fae Ostara.

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poetry without frontiers


For the second year running, selected verse will be read & displayed on the other side of the Atlantic, closer to the lips of the Chocolate River, as a piece, previously featured on the blog, will feature at this year’s Poetry Reading in Fredericton.

I am infinitely grateful to Joe Blades & Nela Rio for exposing my work.
This piece remains very close to my heart 🙂


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Parlons d’amour.

Ce matin les oiseaux ont chanté
les premiers soupirs
du printemps
encore endormi dans
les brassées de
la mer,
de bruyère de
la terre,
courbes & teint hâlé de
la lande, là où
les cœurs s’encrent
au rouge orangé du soleil.

Ouvre ton cœur,
laisse-le me souffler des mots

Let’s speak of love.

Today birds sang spring’s
primal sighs,
inside ocean’s
arms – hills’ heathery
hair, shapes & tanned skin
from our peatlands,
where hearts
ink themselves
from this orange-scarlet sunrise.

your heart,
let it whisper me amber words.

© Nat Hall 2014

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60N song

For the very first time in days, I woke to a very calm sky, as opposed to this winter’s madness of gales, that make you feel inside a washer’s tumbler in full spin… Such trivial detail counts so much for any northern islander who’s grown accustomed to particular weather the Atlantic has generated since last December.
My sunrise over the Bressay Sound looked so promising (as pictured above). Since 9 o’clock, the classroom’s window is ajar, as springlike Friday is shining.
Two senior pupils hard at work, as starlings fill blue sky.

This prompted me very short verse,

60N Song

Today I woke to
silent sky.

There’s nothing else to talk
but starlings
singing inside.sun,
incessant serenade tricksters
that click like Bushmen
in their tongue –
endless arguments from
proud gulls,
pale morning blue.

© Nat Hall 2014

All is serene on 60N 🙂

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