We fought not as other Norse tribes, for we
Had made peace, Christian accord to gather
Against our true enemy, bitter Greenlandic
Cold, strike swords and sails for distant
Markland shores, entrusted to me, Brithe,
Safe-keeping clear sunstone, sure course of
Ice-cluttered whale paths to Vinland Station.
Cold gripped our farmsteads and stout hearts,
Summer visited us not, fields frost-blighted,
Livestock we killed, an invisible enemy of
Far northlands stalked us, furs and steaming
Breath our companions under snow-streaked
Skies. Press west decision made, retreating we
Were not but advancing to tree-felling lands.
Ten longships, sails and hopes raised high,
Amongst great ice-islands we sailed, beyond
Reach of seabirds sky-soaring, on brine foam-
Streaked, pennants in north-winds flew. Who
Will not stand and steer amongst waves when
Odin beckons hearts of Norsemen? By faith
And shield-might, we stood unified as one.
Discerning light of clouded sun and sunstone,
I pointed our true course, faith of Christ, cross
Hand-clutched, breast-pressed, we looked back
Not, snow-crested Greenland in failing light
Disappeared off steer-board, tempest howling,
Wave plowing, sails wind stretching, ten ships
Pushed blind into bleak sea-night.
Five days we denied frost and fear, of each
Ship we kept keen sight, sailing amongst fog
And ice, passage of dangerous black mist, by
Torches burning, loud voices hailing, listening
For ice-surf roaring, ready with spear-spars we
Navigated massive ice-ghosts, south currents
They hard pressed against prevailing winds.
In sunny breaks, distant tree-clad mountains
Of Markland we arrived, no ships or souls
Lost, two Norse tribes, shedding not the
Other’s blood survived, passed treed islands,
Capes and rocks, current riding, wind at our
Backs, by light of beacon fires, longships
Beached, Vinland repair station we landed.
Written whilst listening to “Cloud Atlas Finale” from original
motion picture soundtrack by Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek,
and Reinhold Heil.