Fuglicaavie” is an Old Norse portmanteau word meaning, more or less, a blizzard of birds, originally coined by Shetland fishermen to describe the cloud of birds that follows a fishing boat coming in with its catch. The poem with this title is a shape-poem representing the said boat, and the picture – both the boat and the cloud of following birds – is made up of words from the Shetlandic dialect of Norn, the language spoken in the islands until a few centuries ago but now lost as a language, though many words survive in dialect. Anyone who doesn’t get the point of shape-poems should have a look at this one and see how moving is the image of the cloud of lost words following the boat home; if there is a way this could have been as powerfully expressed without using a pictorial image, it isn’t obvious to me.
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