Part 4: Sea-Sister Lu-ava, Sedna
Whilst trading with Lu-ava brought not bear
Furs or walrus tusks, it ushered Arctic summer
Storm, windblown snow upon Norse stone
House, built too close to water’s edge, waves
Rock-shelf shore crashing, spray flying to
Front steps. I, Brithe, slept soundly, wrapped
In fleecy caribou hides, dreams upon heaving
Foam-streaked seas, Helluland was my home,
Memories of Greenlandic Norse homestead
My heart-soul pierced by raven’s beak, Lu-ava
And I traversed crashing seas, talked in tongue
Both understood, familiar wingéd companion
Shore swooping as we dream-stepped briny
Crests. Sea-sister, Lu-ava worshiped Sedna,
Ocean goddess, sea-animal protectress, fish
And mammals, walrus, seal, wave-swimming
Bear. Without goddess’ permission, no
Animal Norse could take for trade, sacred
Lives lost for riches outside Arctic lands.
“They need wood,” I announced upon waking.
“Saplings, building boats, making tools.” Thus,
I explained, silent trade for things outside of
Helluland, wood, furs, and tusks, each valuable
In its own way. Arguments ensued, opposite
Of Althing, until Harekson said, “Enough!
Wisdom of this I fathom, assist Haf-fuglakyn
As they assist us. Lo! Harekson sent our
Longboat to Markland shores, cut hundred
Head-high saplings where they first grow,
Upon great south-flowing tide they sailed.*
Returned whirlwinds, mist-weaving air upon
Helluland headlands, Norse longboat beyond
Danger’s reach, we few made camp, here
Harekson remained, hunted rabbits, seal for
Food, placed one worn battle-axe on silent-
Trading stone. Lu-ava returned two days,
Pelts, skin mittens, one great-coat. If glowing-
Hot blacksmith fires we had, could hammer
Dozen metal ulu knives, utility understood.
For now we waited, faith of Norse gods and
Sedna, islanders boat-padding round our camp.
*Whilst motoring north along the Koksoak River in Nunavik (Arctic Quebec),
tree-line or forest-line dwindles into scattered, rocky patches, until approaching Ungava Bay, trees disappear. Harekson’s Norsemen and women would sail south-flowing Labrador current until they encountered the Markland forest-line, cutting hundred head-high trees, then returning to modern-day Baffin Island.
Thanks for reading.