Part 3: Gift of Far-Reaching Eye (Last)
Greenland coast, amongst north summer
Ice we sailed, open leads base of cloud-
Swept mountain-high plateaus, crossing
Point towards Helluland, offered Thordrek
Advice, “Sail not against ice, they feel not
Effects of wind nor tide, but currents
Southward pushing.” Thus, we rode their
Lee, twenty Norse men oaring, giant ice,
Water streaming, we anchored to white
Might, fresh water cask filling, fending
Westward, ever weary of wave-wallowing
Ice, visible one moment, lost the next.
As Norse gods decreed, sea-oath between
Thordrek and myself, Brithe was mettle
Tested, as elder Norse mariner awakened
Late, weakness his body overtaken. “My
Lord, what fates befallen?” I asked, his
Face twisted, iron-fisted grip childlike.
To my ear Thordrek whispered, “Use all
Learnt-seen, safe voyages, Norsemen,
Their families.” Breath he gasped, “My
Far-reaching eye amulet you gifted.”
His dying wish, last time see Odin’s
Mount, rocky head of Helluland fiord.
Oar-blanket litter made, careful steps
Along Odin’s mount moraine, months
Ago, our hands grasped, sea-oath taken,
Thordrek’s sea-dagger held at his chest.
“Father, can you see his mighty cloud-
Crowned heights?” One knee all present
Knelt as Thordrek breathed his last,
Hands limp, dagger to rocks falling.
Chest-high cairn we built, his body held
Within. Alone, I amulet opened, polished
Oval stone, fiery opalescence, first glint,
By its sea-spell I was possessed.
In this poem, Thordreks’s Odin Mount is Mount Asgard, Auyuittuq
National Park, Baffin Island, Canada. For more, see this video link.
Thanks for reading this three-part Brithe poem.