Song I sing of heart’s lament, another brutal
Winter endured, spring ice hard-fast to Green-
Land shores, fiords still choked, my tribe to
Westward shores do yearn, Helluland and
Warmer climes, for life on once-green hills,
We fear will cease to exist. Sea-wanderers,
Heroes and heathens alike, we risk turning
To frozen bones, dead in our sod homes.
We shared bread crumbs with sorrows heaped,
Last of grains and goats, cold-starved livestock
Knife-butchered, lush pasturelands cold-blighted,
Still covered in ankle-deep snow, sea-sun slowly
Melting persistent ice-cape, shame of beached
Sailing longships gnaws at Viking hearts, cruel
Fates, torment of neighboring tribes, winter-
Beaten Norse Greenlandic kingdoms.
To gods we prayed, herald-hymns we sang, for
Pious priests protest know not our sins nor
Trespasses. In my heart, God has not forsaken
Us, hunger-driven from bleak shores. By flick-
Ering fires, we will embark across whale paths,
To fiord-lands of large flat-rocks, where arrow-
Shooting Skrælings dwell, paddlers of skin boats,
Eaters of frozen seal and whale flesh.
Lord Jesus Christ, Holy Peace-Weaver, hear my
Prayers of salvation, not of soul but tribal flesh
And marrow. For I, Brithe, on bended knee have
No cross to bear, yet make sacrifice by knife,
I slice my palms, as you were crucified, my red
Wound-streams elbow dripping, spilled on
Grasslands o’er looking Norse sail-roads,
Guiding winds deliver us to new-found land.
In prayerful trance, Brithe collapsed, visions of
Leifsbuðir, vast sod-house settlements, grape-
Vines thick-growing, busy seacoast station, new
Shores for Viking exploration. As legend tells,
Brithe steered her boat by heart-compass, long-
Boats close following, making sail to Markland,
South turning, fair sea-maiden discovered Leif’s
Hamlet, verdant-meadowed Vinland.
This poem describes the Viking settlement of L’Anse aux Meadows.