Kathleen Naglee: A Song for Estonia

Kathleen Naglee, a Tallinn-based school director and poet, has written a poem in honour of Estonia’s centennial – from an expat’s point of view.

Naglee, originally from the United States, has lived in Estonia since 2002, and currently heads one of the two international schools in the country’s capital. To honour Estonia’s 100th anniversary, she dedicated a poem to the country.

“People often ask, what has been my attraction to Estonia? I have found it to be a beautiful country with a rich history that is filled with straightforward and trustworthy people,” Naglee told Estonian World. “But, I know, ultimately, as a foreigner, I may never be completely accepted, and my residency is always in relation to my work. My poem speaks to this tension of how I love this place but may not be able to stay and retire here.”

It can only be hoped that professionals who contribute so much to Estonia, would always be welcome to stay in the country as long as they wish for, regardless of their origin.


A Song for Estonia, by Kathleen Naglee

All the songs end with maa,

land, earth, dirt

Maa, maa, maa


Delineated, limited land.

Bordered and crossed.

Frozen, forested, farmed.


I never understood land

Before here, this piece –

This place.


I from the land of never-ending vistas and verses:

“This Land is Your Land,

This Land is my Land.”


Now, I too cling at this land –

Fingers deep in dirt

Wondering if a traveler can stay?


To rest from the

journeys, the borders, the crossings.

To rest upon

the land, the land, the land.


Cover: A nature scene from Estonia (the image is illustrative/by Daniel Rinaldo).

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About the author: Kathleen Naglee

Kathleen Naglee is an American school director and poet living in Estonia since 2002. She is often engaged in speaking events on topics concerning women in leadership, promoting diversity and the benefits of internationalism.