Educator Soul Land by Natalia Clarke engages the reader through lovely language and imagery. I’m looking forward to showing several of these lines to my students as mentor texts to inspire their own writing!
Claire M. So beautiful. It really takes a special poetry book to maintain my interest and this one did. Gentle yet powerful. Highly recommended for poetry fans, and those who are open to new things.
Katie M. This was such a lovely poetry collection. It was different from others I’ve read before. It showed a deep and personal connection to Scotland, the heritage, and the culture. I normally read poetry to relate to what is being said. This was rather hard for me to connect to since I have no connection at all to Scotland. Regardless, it was very beautiful. I loved what I read and wish it was longer.
Wulfie N. This collection was incredibly unique. It painted a beautiful picture with its words, and I fell in love with every single one of them.
DeAnn H. This poetry collection really was a love letter to Scotland and how the author feels about Scotland. There was some beautiful imagery and wonderful phrases that painted a picture of the wildness and beauty of Scotland. I did really enjoy the poems and language, but wished it was a little longer. I would have loved to read more since I did feel it was a bit short. Still, a lot of the images inspired by her words were wonderful and definitely make you feel like you can see the landscape she’s describing.
Outlines of Duart castle drew me in with its mossy and slate colours and ancient architecture. Like a hand of times long gone it stretched out to me across water standing in the rain on a ferry. Greens, pale blues and grey surround my senses and my heart leaps towards the land at a distance. I smell pines as I step off the ferry and quiet, oh so quiet. A bird tweets, invisible, and I catch the sound as a welcome home. My feet plant comfortably into the soil and I feel like running towards the forest, sea and be swallowed up by thundery sky overhead. I love the rain here. I barely notice it.
I know the place I want to go to, near Loch Don, not far, a piece of paradise silenced into simple yet magical beauty. A white cottage on a hill with deer surrounding it curiously poking their heads from behind its worn walls. Roses in the garden covered in glistening drops nicely quenched. I take my shoes off and walk towards the garden fence. Silence goes through me and I feel like flying. Next I want to melt into the place and become a stone, a blade of grass or a shell lying on a loch’s shore. Nowhere else I feel more a part of something beyond myself and deeply grounded in my own body. Here I remember who I am. That question gets answered every time the island calls and every time is like the first time I find myself again. It scares me how quickly I get lost when apart from this soul land and every time when it takes me back in I am born again. The process is both painful and ecstatic, distorted and transformational. It can be tiring too yet I wouldn’t change any of it. Wind’s gentle breath brushes my cheek and I inhale deeply the clean air from the land’s lungs. I fear to lose it, not to be part of it always, but I know that I find home here every time and that is hopeful, sweet, ‘balsam to a wound like’.
The house was to be sold and I am here to either say good bye to it or possess it for eternity…
This came to me this morning just before Yule and I am so glad of it. There’s a promise in my vision.
Don’t forget to pay attention to your visions and intuitive glimpses during this beautiful time of darkness.
My relationship with Scotland has been profound over the years, as many of you will know. I have travelled north, south, through central parts and inner and outer isles and in each place I discovered a part of myself that showed me various truths about what life and love means to me, reminded me of profound grief and loss and soothes me into a sense of peace and quiet. Most of all nature understanding within and without is something I will always see as a priceless gift I was given in this lifetime.
This year things have broken down literary on this path of my relating to the land and lessons have been huge. I felt as if the land spat me out all ragged and wounded with a sense of self lost and disintegrated. My heart broke and I disconnected from everything and everyone as a result. I left the land exhausted and ill not wanting to look back.
Now the storm is over and I have grounded into the earthly quality of autumn once again I am beginning to reflect on my journey so far and clear a way forward in this profound connection I feel to the land and to myself subsequently. I am setting an intention to redefine this connection, fine-tune it. I am evaluating and comparing my experiences and looking at various sides of myself that have come forward as a result of my journey through the land. Where the wild North torn me to pieces and stripped me of the ground beneath my feet, isles got me in touch with a quiet of my internal possibilities and the central part always held me steady I am clearly defining places that I want to engage with going forward. It is almost like I am creating healthy boundaries for myself like with any other relationship. I know where to go and what not to engage with necessarily for my own peace and vitality as well as for maintaining balanced relationships with significant others in my life. In terms of the elements I know that woodland (Earth) vibrates on the closest level to what I am deep down, whereas the sea is quite far from my essence, although lakes and rivers (water but on a gentler scale) are singing the song my soul recognises. It’s natural. Mountains are incredibly supportive and holding to me and with their spaciousness (Air) I find the balance in my breath (this took time).
I now know that after surrendering to the utterly wild side of myself and the land where there is no mercy on soul or body I now seek balance, warmth and gentleness instead. I want to feel safe and contained. Those are the qualities I want to cultivate further and one particular place I feel can support me in that. Interestingly enough it is a place where I visited Scotland first. So I have come a full circle, one might say, and returned to the understanding of myself on a much deeper level and what truly matters to me in this life.
I am publishing my poetry collection Soul Land soon as a tribute to my spiritual love affair with the land over the last few years. Watch the space.
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