Around flickering fires warming cold nights,
Brithe’s seafaring tribe recognized that she had
Changed, a young Viking woman clan-camping
On rock-barren shores. She sang quiet melodies
Whilst mending clothes, repairing leather armor
And sails, women’s duties, serving her clan,
Warrior-lords on three ocean-going longboats.
Amongst seething seas, foaming brine, howling
Winds pushed Viking boats northwest, sails torn
To bare poles, avoiding ice, rocky islands, kinfolk
Shore-foundering, splintering landfall, bone-cold,
Beyond lumber-felled trees and hand-drawn Norse
Charts, Markland northern mountain-reaches.
When exploring wind-swept Markland mountain-
Heights, Brithe discovered a magical clear stone,
Light-bender, Ramah klar-sten. As she peered over
Ice-cluttered seas, radiant chert-light touched her
Heart, hair and face blazoned bright, her mind
Enlightened by ancient gods on lofty snow-
Crested mountain thrones.
Clutched to her breast, she brought klar-sten to
Her tribe, marveling at her visions, thought-words
That only she could fathom, gift of swan-flight
In mind’s eye. For months, Brithe navigated Viking
Ship-paths under sun, moon, and stars, cloudy
Days and nights, she made safe harbor north and
South along Markland island coasts.
At urging of her warrior-lords, Brithe navigated
East towards Greenland home. On second day
From Markland peaked heights, the wonder-stone
Fell dark, its magic quenched, seas erupted,
Tempests wailing, direction lost under scudding
Clouds, ancient god’s ocean wrath, steerage lost,
Longboats pushed northwest to hostile shores.
When they returned to cloud-swept mountain-head,
Chert stone remained dark and voice-lost until
Brithe climbed noble cliffs, where the ancient
Voice spoke to her. A blesséd gift from Northern
Gods, Ramah klar-sten, wondrous guiding light
Could not leave Markland shores, never east
Towards Greenland nor south to favored Vinland.
Rather than lose her ancient klar-sten guiding
Light, Brithe navigated Markland seas, mountain-
Tops in mast-sight, she traveled safely day and
Night, guiding Viking ships from distant Greenland,
Providing headings on returning trips, escorting
Norse longboats south until rolling Markland
Hills, tree-covered thick, lost their telling might.
When her days came to end, weary and sea-worn,
Alone Brithe sailed north to mountains where
She first found klar-sten steering-words. There,
She climbed to feet ancient deities she loved,
Surviving few days in deep cold, she breathed her
Last. Communing with her gods, Brithe became their
Blesséd KlarSten, radiant light, ocean-guiding voice.
In this poem, Brithe discovered her telling klar-sten (clear stone) or Ramah Bay chert found along northern shores of Viking Markland or modern-day Labrador. For more information on Ramah Bay chert, see these links: http://www.heritage.nf.ca/environment/landscape_ramah.html