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My Great Grand Mother's Hands ©

Nat Hall
Sandwick, Shetland
2006

Mother prunes vine,
grand mother knits -
there in my soul I'm still feeling
my great grand mother's hands.
Time ties strong bones around bollards.
No more Terre-Neuvas, sixareens...
Lerwick,
Fécamp or Baltasound,
barrels belong to celluloid,
filed, filleted,
microcosm on microfiche
like a treasure
in B&W.
That woman gutting fish
looks like my ancestor:
head-dressed in a white scarf,
Benedictine sister -
their knives so feverish
on the shore of both lands,
Norman or Shetlandic...
Silver nitrate turned to yellow,
eyes on postcard revive
one tale of the hareng*.

Poet's note: hareng = herring.



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