What people say:
“Thank you. Your book is so beautiful and a lovely read. Brave, raw, honest. You’ve got to me… I can’t stop thinking about Scotland. Your words are powerful. Thank you.” Christine, UK
“I have just picked up your book and just the first poem gave me shivers. That’s powerful and emotional. I am looking forward to reading more. Great work.” Roy, UK
NeonBooks Literary Magazine review:
Publisher’s website reviews:
Being a fan of poetry and also Scotland… (I live here) I had to read Soul Land.
Perfect for anyone who is after a quick read, who wants to find some peace and tranquil and who loves poetry and nature.
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.
I have just picked up a copy of Soul Land and just the first poem gave me shivers. That’s powerful and emotional. I am looking forward to reading more. Great work.
by Roy, UK
The book was a gift and is such a beautiful and lovely read. Brave, raw, honest. It got to me… I could not stop thinking about Scotland for days after. As I also love Scotland it resonated deeply with me and touched my soul. Powerful words.
As an avid reader of poetry, I found this collection to be completely different from anything I’d previously read. This was my first time experiencing transpersonal poetry and at the very talented hands of Natalia Clarke, I’ve found it a most enjoyable one!
I’ve read a decent amount of poetry, especially in the last couple of months, and Soul Land was very unique from all the others I’ve read. I really enjoyed how descriptive the poems were and the beautiful picture the author painted with each poem.
Calming nature poetry about Scotland that will make you want to pick up a walking stick and wander through Scotland’s beautiful landscape and relax your spirit.
Thanks so much for sending me a copy of your book!
I love your introduction and I can feel how much Scotland touches your soul through your words! I’m truly honoured that my painting connects with that feeling!
I love how you write! You write the way I feel!
Congratulations on your book and your poems are simply beautiful!!
by Ann Fullerton
Soul Land spoke to me and my love of Scotland. The pictures that Natalia Clarke’s poems paint in my eye made me long for a trip out into the Highlands.
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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.
Sometimes what once was the centre of your world becomes exhausting, murky and isolating. This year I have opened my eyes to others’ perspectives on that very important thing I had only looked at from my own heart’s perspective. It can be hard to separate heart and mind when the love one feels is all consuming. It is very true what they say about love being blind. Grateful I am for insights and clarity on a picture, which had only ever had one presentation, nothing else compared and something I fiercely and unconditionally protected shutting eyes and ears to anything else in the process. It nearly cost me dearly and took me away in a direction I knew nothing about however much I convinced myself that I did.
Today I looked at that same picture and saw a gloomy, lonely, unwell landscape what before seemed like haven on earth, the only place to live and die. Strikingly it looked back at me as there we both were as if seeing each other for the first time. What an eye-opening experience this summer. I finally admitted and accepted that suffering does not equate eternal bliss, they are polar opposites, yet my attachment to pain, an old pattern, slowly sneaked up into this experience. Being blind was part of the game, part of the lure into a place dark and lonely. Love is a funny thing and that, I understand, relates to all sorts of love, be it for a person, behaviour, place or a certain feeling. We often get blind-sided by what we are not willing to see for the sake of preserving what we think will ultimately bring us joy. When we get out of our heads and step away from this one perspective we can see all the blind spots. The words of others would ring in our ears all at once and suddenly, for the first time, we hear their voices and see their perspective. Being trapped in a love that is projected, idealised can be dangerous, I know it now, as that kind of love will ask you to give up many things and people, who are actually meant to be in your life. Others are like mirrors into our experience, they are there to point out where we are going wrong and take us back into their arms no matter how far we might have strayed. This is a blessing, as what would happen if there was no way back, no one there to welcome us back to a safe shore?
It has been a difficult summer in particular. I found my allies in places I didn’t expect and returning to a home I long forgot provided me with much needed foundation to start rebuilding my experience, anew, in a different way, more kind and compassionate to the whole of myself, not just an isolated part.
Relationships, however, weak, strong, distant or unnoticed are valuable for us all and should be cultivated and cherished even if only for a while, but the most important thing is to notice, to hear, to allow for that hand of help stretch towards us when we don’t know what is good for us. Living in the earthly is fundamental for the spiritual to feel safe – that much is clear. One without the other is limited and it is also the most difficult integration and manifestation there is, the hardest lesson to learn while we remain in this time space reality.
Summer always feels unsafe to me with its unforgiving, merciless sun and the overwhelm of all senses with dense, unpenetrable forests’ paths. I get lost, confused and on edge all of the time, which makes me vulnerable to all sorts of experiences. They hit all at once, relentless dreams, mental states confusion, anxiety, body shutting down its communication. I don’t feel healthy or well during summer and by the end of it I am always exhausted and in a break-down mode in every way. Now with autumn coming, I am finally coming back to myself., back to safety. Relieved I can begin to breathe again. A process of recovery and reconstruction starts all over again, as it does every year. I am yet to figure out a way of working with summer, something, I suspect, is meant to be that exact way, although difficult to tolerate.
Photo: Arielle Vey ariellevey.com
Like a lover long gone it gently teases with its promise of pleasure
Like the first love long dead it stirs the ashes of my shaken heart into yarning
Like a smoke over the hills it entices me home
Like a river it washes off my worldly doings
You never were mine, will you be mine now?
Will you come like an old friend that never forgot?
Like an old wound that still remembers the pain of love
Will you heal with me in embrace eternal and sacred?
Will you die with me always knowing the love we shared?
Will you come home?
What does it mean to belong to the wind, water and sand
When your body craves its wilderness like some light or food that promises heaven
Heaven it is, indeed, it is
I know it by quenching my thirst by standing on its ancient shores
I am you and you are me eternally bonded like perfectly matched body cells
Like an animal I crawl through heather-fragranced hills sniffing its soft magic as if my last breath
My body relaxes
My senses awake
I know this land is my home
Land is a godly thing, it is of the sacred and the original. It is a being one, open one, the one that offers a choice of whether to transform or not and in no way based on doctrine, assigned attributes, it is free flowing, evolving and constant. What happens when you get touched by land? For me and others, I have heard, it is a realisation of how small we are in the grand scheme of things, which is the land and all life on it, amidst time and historical platform. “We are no different to a blade of grass,” someone said once and I felt it was beautiful put and I believe precisely that. We all come from one place, natural and evolving. There’s a beginning and an end with a purpose woven into the whole journey. What that purpose is often unknown, or, as I like to think, rather hidden from view. Some seek to know it, really know it through a journey of digging deeper into themselves and some simply live according to what they decide works for them or feels good. Both can be connected, but do not have to be. Others adopt laws and rules of a society, community, religious views amidst other things, by which they construct their lives. It is all valid I’d say as we are present on our journeys here on Earth with divinity intertwined into whatever manifestation we choose.
Nature is the original source and its magnificence in multi-presentations and intricacies of its ways of being and ancient knowledge can wake up and sustain our consciousness and bring us back to ourselves more than anything else can.