Chant du monde boréal
Sandshifter, 60N.
Where it all makes sense.



Through Chronicles from Arcania, I shall attempt to share walks with you, this poetics from 60N, where I feel at one with our Earth, my sense of place so maritime.

Saturday, 31 December 2011

wishing well

To each&everyone,

dear friend, 
compagnon de voyage, you have walked with me through many paths, earth, heather, peat bogs, sand & marram grass - stood at the edge of sea lace, and shared in world foot prints.  As 2011 will soon belong to ice, let me wish you all the very best for the forthcoming year.  May each new day be engulfed with fair winds in your sails; may 2012 help you realise your dearest projects and wishes. 
looking South to Sumburgh Head
I love to walk the very top of my favourite hill on New Year's Day. As you know already, the view is breathtaking, but it also helps me to enjoy a very special moment, which, in turn, will fuel my spirit for the twelve months ahead. 
Already some projects are now well under way. 2011 fulfilled some of my dearest wishes already - 2012 will continue to help them reach fruitfulness. And I wish you all the very same, happiness above all.

Happy New Year!
Bonne et heureuse année!
prost Neujahr!
ath bhliain faoi mhaise!
godt nyttår!
feliz ano novo!
szczęśliwego nowego roku
С Новым Годом!
bliadhna mhath ur!
gleðilegt nýtt ár!
feliz año nuevo!
mwaka mzuri / heri ya mwaka mpya!
unyaka omusha omuhle!

Thursday, 29 December 2011

high tide

right of passage

Come to Arcania at high tide. Each side of the sand bridge acts like oracle. Oracle to the side of our own wandering. This afternoon, I wished to return to the shore and took this path so familiar. From the top of the brae (hillside) I watched as silvery the horizon glowing in my eyes. My heart filled with salt water, as I realised the mighty ocean would not be granting such right of passage. Tide was at its highest. 

Rollers looked as that hue of jade-blue as the final days of December. Not many souls were in my sight. At least I thought at first. However, as I parked the motor, two other black vehicles flocked by the edge. Dog walkers. They too must have been mesmerised by the cloak of silver over the sand. So little patch of gold at our feet. Still a good hour till till dusk and I tossed my luck in pale blue sky to come as close as I could be from the edge of my world. The walk to this oceanic lace was littered with pebbles, shells, as well as a few signatures of humanity. Baltic air reached fingertips and still I advanced towards the very edge of flooded bridge. I felt the white lips of winter. I watched with awe the mighty power of each wave, roller, crashing and covering it with grace and anger. Already the island had been battered with so many hissing gales... This Nordic sky began to darken once again. 

High tide would deny us.  
Impressive, moving and so powerful in action. I will try again tomorrow.

Etat d'esprit

frame of mind


in one song.

And now the storm has gone, let's wander to the shore.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

in between silence and whistlers

Tongue of winter

I still remember beginning of Yuletide... The sky was kind to earth and folk. Our three felines, like clockwork mechanical toys, were sunbathing behind the glass of the kitchen and ate their saucer of tuna without raising an whisker... Rare moment of contemplation... We seized Yule light to pay homage to the many dwellers of the marsh, mire and loch. The island's rich in winter wildlife. Geese of many kinds and origins adorn hillsides and fields. Golden Plovers, Redshanks, Moorhens, Purple Sandpipers, and other waders grace our sky. Seals, all year round pop their heads at the surface of water... Winter visitors have arrived too. In addition to Redwings, Fieldfares & other thrushes, Long-tailed ducks & Goldeneyes paddle around. 

I love wild geese. To my heart, they epitomise winter on this latitude. They're scattered in small or large gaggles everywhere. Yesterday again (27 Dec) Greylags (as pictured here) mingled with Barnacles at Fleck. But light came to end so abruptly I even did not try to capture them through the lens. Another time :-)

All was quiet till 24 December. Yule celebrated within the comfort of the hut, with candles and delights, as night covered the many homes on the island. Peaceful and joyous, it was later shared with friends till very late in the night.

December 25 December belonged to hurricane winds that wrapped homes day and night... Dancing tiles and incessant hissing gales always sound both impressive and terrifying, when the wind gusts at giddy speeds. Anyway, reprieve was felt yesterday and we seized the opportunity to check hut and garage for structural damage. So far, we resisted to the anger of winter... So we went out and spent the early afternoon at East Voe and Ninian's Sands in search of shells and adventures. And this we did. Our love of the natural world includes the shore, and what better place  than an island? Among the few treasures brought home, I found a broken specimen of arctica islandica, which used to be on the menu of islanders in a non too distant past. Will have to submit my record to MarLIN... They might accept it.

Ninian at dusk looks so blue.

Hmmm, each day has its own adventures and I hear more whistlers may hit us again. Argh weel, so is the fate of the island. A day of light and silence from the sky remains a treasure, just like wood, rocks and shells. 

Friday, 23 December 2011


longest night

I never saw sunrise on Solstice Day. Not even chirping birds managed to disturb my slumber. On the first day away from bells & timetable, I just slept away happily.
I occupied my eyes and heart around the hut from mid-morning till dusk. Yule is a time when gift paper wraps up surprises to be shared and carve new smiles. In the garden, squalid showers and heavy rain obeyed winter sky's metronome. Sunset begins early. By 1450 our world darkens. By 4 o'clock, the island has sunken in black. 

eerie world

Yuletide lights adorn the spruce Norway gifts us at Market Cross (as well as around a couple of other landmarks) in the town. They seem to defy the anger of the hissing gales, hail and malevolent spirits...Yet, on Solstice Night, all feels quiet. Maybe too quiet for the time of year. It's just gone five. A good number of the shops on Da Street remain open late on Thursday nights and yet the town feels deserted. Its many dwellers have already made their way home. The bus shelters, filled with laughters, will soon be haunted with footprints at The Esplanade. 

The harbour looks serene. The Leirna's left for one of her daily crossings through the Bressay Sound. The nearby pub, Thule, welcomes its daily intake of sailors & workers. Neon lights glow behind the blinds. Bar tenders will fill night with beer...
A few passers-by hurry to the light wherever it glows. 
The town's main streets and arteries have now returned to Yule spirits, as they recovered freedom of the world.

The island prepares for the longest night.

Yuletide haiku & micropoetry fae 60N

Tic-toc -
origin of the universe
shelled deep inside dry seeds of time.

Nordic sunrise -
tone, tone, tone, tone, tone,

A high moon lights end of night,
winter feels like a humpback whale -
unpredictable to our eyes.

Lune d'hiver -
cet imprimé d'argent
dans les flocons de neige.

winter moon -
this silver print
inside snow flakes.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Yule upon us

Time for reflection & celebration

Yule, upon us. Most of the day was devoted to reflect upon loved ones, far and wide, scattered around our world, as well as those who changed world and follow us from the sky. Since I have the silly habit of missing out postal deadlines, wishes have been flying around via the internet. So practical and easy to reach out in such a way. Trees remain treasures, time is precious and however wishes come to you, it comes from the heart.

Snow & ice have returned to the island. Days continue to shrink and this Arctic maritime air drifts everywhere. This morning, Peewit the cat hesitated to get his paws wet again, and walked on ice as if he would on eggs (!) The garden, once frozen in ice, attracted our regular squadron of starlings that have learnt to avoid our felines. 

We are getting accustomed to a pale sun on Sunday morning, so low in our Nordic sky. Soon, it will dip even lower. Yule, which coincides with the winter solstice , signals both the longest night in our northern hemisphere and a rite of passage for the gradual return of the sun. Yule light, so precious on our high latitude. Sunrises and sunsets will stagnate a little before precious seconds are regained. Meanwhile, the spirit of Yule has entered our home. Pine, holly, mistletoe adorn our walls & front door. More candles are lit on the chimney mantelpiece. The hearth glows on a daily basis and our larders are stocked for the festive season. 

Peace in our hearts, 

2011, a year of change & adventures

with a few highlights, a summer packed with a myriad of smiles, eyes, languages through The Tall Ships & visitors setting foot on the island; a flash visit to the home of Humblyband at Carbeth Guthrie, new eyes & pens through Serpentine Drama & Writers... And current creative projects in the making, including podcasting. Joining in has enabled joint showcasing of photographic portfolios as well as connecting with the natural world further and making new friends. (See 4 December entry below). Our profile page grows with grace.

My Nordic home feels peaceful, as night unravels serenity. No hissing gust or gale tonight. 

My wish to you,

thanking you for following, leaving feedback this blog and wishing you, each & everyone, a peaceful & joyous Yule, Christmas, Weihnachten, Navidad, Noël, Nollaig Shona Dhuit,  Yul, Natal, Nollaig chridheil huibh,

with all the very best for 2012.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

New Addition,
Part of WILDLIFE WHISPERER, was only a matter of time as well as a natural progression, for all the time my pal & fellow nature lover, Paula, was talking about it so passionately in front of her laptop at Girlsta! 

Here, our joint Profile page, fresh from this evening, as snow engulfed our world! On this occasion, I included my other half in this adventure, as it is a formidable opportunity for him to showcase his work as an avid natural world lover & photographer.  

Already connected with two known fellow Wildlife Whisperers and making new friends.

With renewed thanks to Paula Moss & Michael J Wood 
for introducing us to this network.

waiting for white

ice inside grass

It's barely 3 o'clock, and light is vanishing beyond the great sub-arctic lid that settled in our sky. The wind might have died by morning, but winter's claws now in firm grip of the island. We have been warned, a strange-shaped yellow bubble engulf our shores by the Met Office... So we've nailed apples on the edge of the composter and scraps litter the iced grass blades since mid-morning. 

Latest tale from the Far-far-north

The garden never quite sound asleep,
Long-Eared Owl, photographed
at Hoswick - Dave Hall
Last night alone, at 0026, a Long-Eared Owl graced our sight, as it perched for a while on June's tree, just opposite our kitchen window. I lit the garden for a last check of the grass when the nocturnal predator flew into the spruce. Its silencers makes it a ghost. Magic moment! I just could not really believe my eyes, as the bird landed so gracefully and turned its eyes towards the lit backdoor. Majestic. 

Earlier on today, Mr Robin was visible again, as it played around June's drystone wall and our fence posts.  It whizzed and darted around stones and long grass, as elusive as a kingfisher perched on the bank of some river... Starlings and blackbirds made a meal of the half apples well before dusk. Precocious roosting time, de rigueur on this latitude.

The zoomed-out view from my kitchen door pedestal did not look too dramatic this morning. However, hailstones littered the garden and white dusted the nearby hill NW of us (not visible on the photrograph). I heard a gaggle of wild geese, very possibly Greylags, calling from Brakefield, as starlings gathered on my neighbours' ramskull and washing lines, June's and mine's. Such a familiar sight. Light remained dimmed through such short days. 

If winter, as a season, selects the fittest of survivors, a hand from our part helps to limit the damage through this yearly carnival of death. Mother Earth and Father Sky have their way in dealing with the natural world, and many plant and animal species have adapted to cope with the gradual or sudden change of temperatures. For those who stay in one place all year round, they have no choice but face the perils of sedentary life, or rather, survival. 
Like many thousands of us, friend & local wildlife photographer, Paula Moss, based at Girlsta, north of the town, invests in her local patch by feeding her local birds. Although she confessed she was "plagued" by over some "forty pigeons" (mix of Collared & Rock Doves), she found so much delight in mixing sheep fat with seeds & nuts. Her avian friends certainly appreciate her generosity, as they depend on such helping hand! Such gesture is now embedded in our hearts, and nature gives back in beauty what  is so graciously offered to it. 

Each solstice and equinox make 
the very fabric of our world. 

Meantime, we prepare for whiteworld as much as we can.
Coal, bagged and stacked against one wall, 
the hearth now glows till late in the night. 

Fat water-filled roasting dishes provide a little bit of goodness to our avian friends when left around during the day.  Now  night has overridden dusk, it will be emptied, washed and re-used for tonight's dinner.                                

Still keep  an eye through the window, with a thought for my little feathery friends roosting in the trees of the nearby community garden, as well as those, such as wrens and robins, tucked in  between stones of walls. Daily survival has its price.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Late night fun for new project

Nat Hall,

after the blog,
myspace, twitter... the blackbird now sings on

thanks to a pal, who posts as well and inspired.

The first two tracks were recorded just a little while ago, at a time when poetry was turned into sound. We were then experimenting with the spoken word as narrative inside a song when the words were not sung altogether...
Some never made it to the project. So they now have a new home and purpose. 
More will follow, as material fills folders. 

I still remember poet, editor and performer, John Hudson, telling me that my voice was my brand when performing poetry. There, you go, John - I have found a nouveau souffle through this platform. 

And I intend to have fun with it.

Have added the site in the "HOMEWORLDS" Section on the right hand side of the blog. 

And now to the kindred spirit who inspired,

You find him here:

Thank you, dear Al :-)

Sunday, 27 November 2011

glimpse of light

in between gales


a triangle of light appeared out of the gloom grey...
Not much at first, from SSE. It's just past noon. A NNW gale blows, overriding storm force winds from earlier this morning.

Contrasts belong to cardinal points.
A few minutes, as I look west. That gale wipes clean-crisp back to blue (oh, not for long). I love the old manse against that less dramatic background. 
At its zenith, our star's elevation barely reaches 7.34º - temperatures have plummeted since gales have ravaged the island.

Looking SSW.
By lunchtime, light shines without shame,
but soon low clouds regain position by the hill! Our afternoon light last about three hours...  

Still from SSW

As soon as our sun begins to set, I need to seek shelter once again,
as  cold rain beads slash the double pane of my window. 
A grey-filled sky darkens my world; only a tiny glimpse of light acts a rebel.

I am day-dreaming of first snow, as dusk settles.

A mix of rain, slush and hailstones crashed on the glass, so why not now. And when I look back towards west, an angry sky begins to show... Welcome to the claws of winter, just as those from the wolverine that dwells inside the boreal forest. 

In time for night, the wind still howls through that gigantic megaphone, though its triads lose frequency. Somehow it became a little bit more Wagnerian! 

And speaking of the boreal world, I shall leave you with a more seasonal string of haiku.

Wings of change -
raven at north junction,
in search of excess carrion.
#haiku fae 60N

Déshabillez-moi -
when first frost starves gardens from sap,
they yield to the wind in a nude.
#haiku fae 60N

Lean times -
wolverine paws in single white,
the raven has to be patient.
#haiku fae 60N

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Around the eye of the storm

Precipitated re-entry in winter

Just like a dream.
Inside this great universal cycle, I somewhat lost sense of November. Somebody said there was nearly something wrong with the system... African air filled November. The island warmed, for a moment, to suspended meaning of summer - the very one we never felt on the island! 
Last Sunday felt  so weird when I stood in the middle of my sand-bridge. Warm air currents flowing around as if they ignored the meaning of winter... 

And now it's time to re-enter the spirit of winter.
Entrance to the Café, with terrace
in summer.
I first felt it when I jumped off my car on Friday morning... Gale-force winds turned so ferocious raindrops mutated into hail. And by the time dusk overrode day, we gathered for a hot chocolate at The Peerie Shop by the old harbour, the air turned cold. For a minute, I thought we might be christened with a flurry of snow. 

Now we really feel back in winter. 

Stormdays follow storm nights.

The sky turns black by mid afternoon and empties itself in horizontal style. Tucked inside my oilskin, I haste each pace. Roof tiles dance without shame - the marine forecast reads hideous. I pray our local fishermen moored their vessels in safe havens until wind speed recedes and blows a moment of respite. We are accustomed to the gales. They come, hiss and go. The island turns a ghost rock. The safest place remains by the hearth. So little light lets you glimpse though the edge of the storm.  Our avian friends, wren, robin and blackbird, remain tucked in between the stones of our neighbours' wall. They sometimes perch on the ramskull that crowns Richard's totem, as if they wished to defy each outburst of the storm. However, their act of resilience does not last long. Safety on the ground prevails. The forecasters issued an Amber alert for wind for tomorrow with brighter skies... I keep an eye on the windsock. Rain remains rain as long as winds blow from a southerly direction. Should they veer N or NW-N, I will salute the first snowflakes of the season. My heart's puzzled. They're late this year. 

The shipping forecast reads back to more seasonal expectations. 

Let's go back to Kate's Words for Snow. "Flegme des neiges, Mistral despair... Terror blizzard - creaky-creaky"

Tuesday, 22 November 2011


Changement de pavillon linguistique

Le nomadisme ne connaît pas de frontière!
Cela me chatouillait depuis quelque temps... A bon traducteur Google, salut!
C'est en surfant sur le blog copain québéquois de La Taversée que je me suis dit,

"Eh bien quoi, pourquoi pas un petit détour géopoétique SPECIAL FRANCOPHONE POUR UNE FOIS?" Après tout, cela ne fait de mal à personne!
Que mes lecteurs se délectent dans une langue qui fait le bonheur des deux côtés de l'Atlantique Nord :-) 

Pour toutes celles et tous ceux qui ne connaissent pas cet atelier de géopoétique, allez donc surfer sur le lien suivant (que vous trouverez également sur le côté droit du blog sous l'inscription: "Constellations")

Benoît, Victoria et les amis de La Traversée, bonjour du milieu de l'Atlantique!

Mr Kenneth White ne cesse d'agrandir son archipel et regarder le monde à partir d'une île se révèle à la fois fort agréable et aventureux, puisque la longue vue vous permet, à partir d'une péninsule, la vision hyper-grand angle... Une longue vue, voire un télescope! Quel bonheur de se trouver balayé(e) par les vents, maquillé(e) par les embruns tout en se disant que, de toute façon, mieux vaut les odeurs d'iode et de kelp pourri que celles des abattoirs ou des longues queues aux embouchures d'autoroutes... Ha-ha, la vie d'insulaire sur cette latitude a le goût de sel! 

Chers amis du Canada, et du monde francophone,
je vous suis sur vos blogs respectifs, et j'aime vous lire quelque soit la langue choisie.
Ce mode d'expression reflette assez bien l'esprit de Kenneth White, qui se plaît à converser oralement ou à l'écrit dans ces deux langues, que je considère "jumelles".

A bon voyageur, salut, et bonne traversée!

Hissez haut, hissez haut!

from Crafty Green Poet: Oceans - a film

Le(s) Peuple(s) Migrateur(s)


We, who follow the sun.

For millennia, or at least, since our homeworld became inhabited by animals, most species (including our own!) have endeavoured such perilous treks across the vast expanses of continents, across oceans, via ancient land bridges. Man has invented rafts of all shapes and sizes to defy the even larger expanses of water. New lands, from atolls to entire continents, have been colonised in such ways.  If only a few nomadic tribes still roam the most remote parts of our world, the vast majority of us have become sedentary. The invention of farming has turned the page forever, as settlements began to appear. Kingdoms, duchies & principalities later reinforced the trend; the concept of nationalism, nation-states & the invention of the passport ultimately sealed the fate for many of us... However, and as man invented imperialism, newer forms of migratory movements began to appear. Today, the concept of globalisation regulates (as much as it can) human migration according to "economic" needs. The old European & North American continents have turned into fortresses, an El Dorado, to many men, women and children, either in search of a better life or persecuted in their own homelands, whilst the Asian and African continents providing incessant and cheaper labour... (Mind you, within our own continent, the masses act as such in their own way). Migration, either within or from one to another island or continent, forced or voluntary, continues. 

Fish, sea mammals and other dwellers of the great big blue  do so solely for survival & natural life cycle purposes. Birds, on the other hand, as members of the avian kingdom, have, just like butterflies and moths, wings. No creatures need passports. They follow the cycles of our homeworld in the most natural ways. The only thing they are bound to is life. 

Now, and just as I enjoyed reading Juliet Wilson's blog entry about her reaction to Oceans - the film - earlier on today (please click on link post above), I cannot help but add my stone to the edifice.
Jacques Perrin  is as passionate as Sir David Attenborough when it comes to the natural world. He is a French actor and producer, with a formidable and poetical eye for the world he lives in. Together with partner in crime Jacques Cluzaud, he has signed tremendous wildlife documentaries, including Microcosme (Microcosmos) and Le Peuple Migrateur, or Winged Migration.

Here, Le Peuple Migrateur, for pleasure.

Oceans remains to be enjoyed :-)