Northern Atlantic: Poetry and Photos by Romane Bladou

the futility of geography                     the distances that write themselves and                   the
drifting belongings

if I am not one or the other, maybe I am in the middle
citizen of the Northern Atlantic                     of the Celtic seas and             the Arctic waters

I found shelter on a slippery rock
a word that sounds familiar
in this language that I do not understand
that is spoken
in homes filled with light                    behind the window                over there




I have been told about the tides, the currents and about all of these aquatic swirls that
can make the strongest of men powerless. It goes away and comes back, brings you far
and brings you down.

                                                                            It brings you down and does not care.

I have not been told about the wave that comes, uninvited, over my belly button
                                                                                               when I have only allowed the thigh.





I don’t know how it is called, this little part. The strip of wet sand, between earth and water. The landing zone, the death house of the waves. They come to throw themselves or to go to sleep, they come to leave their mark. This little part is the bed of capricious tides, it is the in-between that adapts to the comings and goings, to the comings that don’t go back. The no man’s land of every coast. A line that defines every land, a line that is moving and changeable, it draws the almost cardiac rhythm of the oceans and their moods. I feel like I am this little part. Never a wave again since I have left the ocean, emigrated of my own free will on the other side of the Atlantic. But I won’t ever be dry sand. There will always be a wave to come and wet the sand that is trying to dry, to adapt itself. A wave of childhood, a wave full of salt and french culture. I am this little part, not one anymore and never really the other. But I don’t complain : my migratory burden is a bouquet of flowers. And if these waves bring with them some bitterness that they leave on the ground, they are also like a caress – the wet sand knows water and sand, it is a malleable border, wishes to be sedentary but is fed by movement. To the migration fluxes and to all who want to carry their houses on their back : the world is your oyster.





The mountains are liars and I am less naïve. They are yellow, as if covered in hay, they seem dry and breakable. A mountain and nothing else. Grey and yellow. Rock and hay. Damaged velvet on a used chair. But the foot’s sinking, the effort is doubled, the ground porous. It is an aquatic hike on the flank of dried mountains, never. I cried on top of a big sponge because I was afraid of the wind, of the ocean, and of not being able to see them.

I always think in French, except in France. I am always the foreigner : the one that is surprised.





To the things we see without looking at them
(to the ones we guess)
                                                                        To the crossing trains
                                                                        the opposite directions
the gazes in the void
                                                                        the fact that we never know what we’re thinking of
                                                                        when someone asks us
                                                                        of nothing,      I don’t know,              of you, maybe





All the children left and the trampoline flew away. Flown away by this wind that blows strongly, this wind that pushes trucks on their flanks and children to the cities. Far from the trampoline, and the tide, and the mother. Far from the yellow house with the sheeted windows now, or planked up with wood. Nobody will see the bay from here anymore, nobody’s there. The pick up is upside down on the hunting trail. In the leather of its torn seats, blueberries are growing. Nobody will see the bay from this house that seems as if it was built only for this purpose. On this peninsula, houses look like they were designed from the inside. Windows are asymmetrical, placed where wished to be. In front of the bed, so we can see the ocean, and the icebergs, and the years. In front of the kitchen sink to watch the children jump on the wet trampoline. Everything is wet over here. They appear in intermittency, according to the rhythm of their jumps. 1, 2, 1, 2… Until they don’t appear in the window frame anymore. All the children left and the trampoline flew away.





Arctic Polar circle                                            teenagers on bicycles                         very fresh fish


Landscapes that are wet                                peeling noses and                               dripping mountains


Staggered cycles                                             when you’re asleep                             and I’m not





Sometimes, we talk about the seas that have dried up and that create deserts, about the lack of water and everything that is parched. I tell myself that if one day I become arid of aquatic vocabulary, I will have to dive into the lexical field of the current.

Because maybe it was a lake, before becoming a field.





the trees are witches that have become undecided by the winds. they don’t know where to face anymore, what direction to indicate. they confuse the travelers. and their roots are wet, their base is not solid, a misshaped tree put in a pull that pretends to be ground. a blast throws them down and we find these trees lying along the paths. the lying witches of the western isles, distorted by the wind to finish laid down by it. the rootless.


so am I.

Romane Bladou is a French artist based in Vancouver, BC, where she is currently doing her MFA. Her work combines different mediums such as photography, creative writing and installation. Her research focuses on notions of displacement, through wandering, translation and seeing, of our body in the landscape and the ways in which we perceive it.