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.

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 :-)

Monday, 21 November 2011

50 Words for Snow


It's just past midnight and it feels like Christmas! 
All the reviews read unanimous,
Kate's ten studio album, 50 Words For Snow, is her latest masterpiece.

A formidable tour de force, Kate releases not only one, but a second album in one year! Director's Cut revisited a patchwork of old songs revamped to suit her taste as fully finished work... In its footsteps follows a mystical album, fresh from her world. For your pleasure: Kate's home site: Fish People

It is a seasonal hymn to joy, as much as Aerial in its very own right.

It is currently downloading in " my little black box" (iPod's) iTunes... It is already imprinted in my heart. And if you want to give it a first listen before you order it, 
please visit: 50 Words For Snow 

Thank you, Kate, for a wonderful
album. Wild Man was a magical hors d'oeuvre!

With all the very best wishes, Kate & The Fish People! 

With grateful, very grateful thanks for the photographs,
they are wonderful!

Sunday, 20 November 2011



They call you wild sand. Something told me too many footprints come and gone, erased by tides, so many rounds of lunar lightyears... 

I made a promise to my heart. Too long I waited to be re-united with your magic. So I walked through your marram grass and found sleeping dragon right at the edge. The light was delicious at lunchtime. I began to listen to you. I love your rocks and boulders clad with seaweed and limpets. There is something about you that reverberates on wet sand. I remember you clad in ice last winter. Now we're back in November I feel summer. No skelping wind against my face, warmth by your side. Indian summer pushed to the edge.

The edge. That very line drawn by your surf, the earthly seam of a curtain we dare not cross for fear to drown in the unknown. Not long ago, men feared to reach edge of the world - the uncharted,  twisting, white-out, reckless void... Too many boats never returned inside their minds. To stand by the edge is to defy our very fears in the face of the horizon. 

Change of Light
As I wander towards the  centre of the sand-bridge, low clouds change everything. 
Our bountiful November sun begins to play that very game of hide-and-seek. Silhouettes, rounded in gold background, seem to shiver a little more. I will not turn, so determined to feel at one with Arcania. Breakers sound so earthly metronome. Every pebble turns an island, every limpet shell, a mountain. 

I can feel angels around you.

Closer to the shore,
I see you.

As I walk back towards the mainland,  I feel the claws of the darklands.  Low clouds engulf your every hill, like a hungry gigantic mouth. My world darkens further as I drive north.  Too soon we shall revert to dusk and today's sunset's deleted...

I still hear you inside my heart. 
Each wave, each return of the tide...
yesterday I whistled to two selkies south of your bridge, today I walked along your edge, double bladed, synchronised song. Mist may swallow the last hours of my Sunday, my prints will remain on your sand.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

selkie whistler

sunset spirit

Arcania shines in November. Cobalt blue skies adorn a sun low and yet still bright. The island harbours an ice-free world few dare to fret. 

Whereas geese and fieldfares grace winter fields, the other side of the loch, much closer to the shore, attracts the eye. Sunset is approaching. Every starling still mingles in lukewarm air, as our star begins to slide behind a front. Its every moves dictates our world how to behave. That horizon distracts my heart.   I jump over the fence to join him by the shore. 

He is whistling to the north Atlantic. From the distance, ripples, one and then two dots appear at the surface of the ocean. He tells me to walk slowly closer to them  and keep whistling. He walks away as I begin this selkie song. My steps feel light, as I reach the nearest boulder to sit. Time has vanished. Crouched on my rock, I watch their every movement. My whistling arouse their curiosity.  They disappear and re-surface a little closer...

 Immersed in this strange musical game, our closest star begins to glow a little more. Our Nordic sky turns honey gold and I wonder if they will return after dusk and shift into our shape for a night... I leave my two sea mammal friends and watch starlings gather in a sky of fire.

My island world has little time to prepare for darkness. Four moorhens swim away on the shallow loch. Swans and geese feed franticly. A closer look towards the croft and starlings melt inside the sky. Roosting time. 

The urge to reach new altitude is shared as eyes turns towards honey. The narrowness of the island allows grand views from my favourite hilltop. However, a quick look around a semi-derelict croft by the roadside lets me capture two orange eyes with tufted ears. Yes, one silent hunter rests on a metal gate... Or is it resting?  Its head turns like a lighthouse beam after sunset. It is looking at my lens and it knows I am here, hiding in one corner. I will not go closer. The air turns crisper as crimson is far too eager to wash the sky. It feels a race against night.

From my hilltop, I gaze at Ninian in lost blue... 

Too soon, crimson has filled a perfect moment. It is  just 1545 and, by the time I am back home, dusk has settled in the island. Am still thinking of those selkies inside that bay, and feel their spirits in darkness. 

Will be dreaming of ocean folk and maybe walk on my sand bridge tomorrow...

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

seasonal wonders

My idea of Saturday afternoon

I spend my workdays in the town.

Five days a week, as soon as dawn vanishes, my mind is set for tarmac and corridors, a blue office behind thick glass. As a general rule, weekends belong to the island - its barren hills and elliptic bays, when I do not end up at a friend's for a slice of life in tête-à-tête... I try as hard as I can to replenish larders and shelves some time between day 1 and 5. 

Now, last Saturday broke the rule. Yet, and since am not bound by timetable, I took my time and involved my other half in the expedition. A simple thought would create twists for such a chore... The town usually bustles as soon as the week is about to end, as busy shoppers wander around Commercial Street and the two local supermarkets. To add to the "island mayhem", a local craft fair & food festival were housed at Clickimin... 

Some twelve miles (around 20km) separates us from the island's only urban centre. A North-South stretch of tarmac, slightly sinuous in places, allows us to reach it in some 20-25 minutes... Yet we went off the beaten track to peep at meadows filled with life, as we left our hut in mid-Afternoon. Magic places, Aith Meadows, Fladdabister... Patchworks of colours during summer - teeming with life & breath taking scapes. In November light, autumn visitors land and find shelter around pastures, ditches and fields. 

European White-fronted geese graced part of the afternoon as we meandered along Aith Voe, that long and narrow inlet of sea that serves as a local harbour & safe haven for seals, waders and seabirds. So soft in mild November light. Their pink bills differs from that of their counterparts from Greenland, that come in greater numbers around the island... Scarce treasure :-) 

As we pursued our way northwards, the sea was bashing the coastline. 

By the time we reached the town, we pit-stopped at Clickimin Loch to try and find an even scarcier visitor, a Great Crested Grebe. The last one recorded on that expanse of fresh water dates back to 1976 (!) How happy we were to find it as soon as I stopped the engine. Exotic fellow just before sunset... 

Funny how a single food shopping trip can turn into a wildlife adventure... 

All bird photographs courtesy of my other half,
with grateful thanks :-)

Friday, 11 November 2011

in memoriam

culture of peace

 Né sous une bonne étoile.

I still remember my maternal grand mother who hammered in my heart how fortunate I was to be born in relative peace time. "Relative" in the sense no bombs fall on my head in spite of fears incessantly generated by some politicians backed (or pushed) by their generals. So far in my lifetime, I witnessed extraordinary events: the Fall of the Berlin Wall, German re-unification, collapse of communism pre-seeded by glasnost - in other words, historical steps towards peace between nations tarnished by blood over centuries. Peace secured all around fields our ancestors fought in the name of their rulers... We all have a poppy to wear. For centuries, families have lost loved ones in the name of political madness. 

Since early childhood, I have learnt to remember those who fell in the fields of northern France and Flanders. On every 11 November, we were led to the monument aux morts by our teachers. Wherever I stand, I remember all men who were sacrificed in a name of a war, irrespective of nationality, since nationalism was invented to elevate states to extreme competition and human carnage . Nobody asks to die in such ways. In the name of politics, propaganda glorifies any conflict. Nobody plasters Dulce et Decorum Est on the door of their parliament, hospital or court of justice. And yet war poetry is studied at secondary level. Pupils learn and forget the messages of brave young men, like Wilfred Owen, who dared to denounce the true face of war and condone its illusions.

Earlier on at school today, I attended Armistice Day Ceremony within the walls of the old institute. Our Lord Lieutenant stood in full regalia, together with officials & other dignitaries to celebrate forty nine pupils who fell during WWI.   Poignant moment, as wreathes were laid under the framed list of the boys, and selected pupils read out their names after the reading of In Flanders Fields . Two minutes ' silence were observed on the eleventh hour in the entire establishment, as the rest of the island and at national level. Our local piper & final words from the local history teacher closed the ceremony. 

My heart warped through time as I remember the picture of my great grand father, a stretcher-bearer, gassed at Verdun and at Le Chemin des Dames and think of all men and women embroiled in all recent conflicts. As if human flesh was still regarded as a "commodity"...

By celebrating Armistice Day, we remember all those who have been sent to nothing but reckless butchery. 


I wrote a haiku this morning before I left for school. It read:
Coquelicots -
pinned on the tartan of your scarf,
explosive red in foreign fields.
#haiku fae 60N