“On sea, I was born of Gyllda, Norse longboat
Sailing cresting waves,” I sing aloud, “first
Greeting life, sight of Shetland Isles.” Where
Others labour by wave-toil, baptized was I by
Mother’s blood-tinged sea-spray, crying baby
Girl, Brithe named, breast-held, heaving breaths
Of salt-air, glimpses of sails, scudding clouds.
Lo! Offering to gods, mother cast cloth-wrapped
Placenta into waves, giving of herself, of me,
Promise of safe sea passages, Christian converts,
Deep-rooted pagan ancestry, rituals mystery-
Cloaked, wrought in sacrifice, bane-stones.
Whist shore-standing sing of me, “Youngling
Of the sea, feel as I feel, know as I know.” Fear
Not brash longboat deeds, steerboard wave-
Guided, sails wind-stretched, mast, rigging
Moaning, This much I share: life or death,
Ocean welcomes with open arms, sea-glitter
Embraces, wind upon courageous faces. Sail
With me in wonderment or remain landlocked
Soul, venturing not beyond safety of sheep-pens.
Learn white-water wisdom, secrets horizon
Concealed, cloud-swept new worlds, groveling
Inaction or sea-saga destinies.
No treasure more dear, life upon sea-waves,
Bow rising, over-flowing. Wanderlust heart-
Filling, time for sit-listening done, during
Grey-haired days, long you will remember
Boat-building, tools of trade. For now, let
Sun, wind redden face, hands and backs
Made strong, oar and sail-rope pulling. We
Sail in faith, trust-reliance on each other,
Waves will never wound us. Sing aloud with
Me, “Norse longboat sailing briny depths,
Flesh and bone, heart and soul, I was born
Anew on wave-plowing sea-steeds.”
Poem written whilst on holiday for Canadian Thanksgiving.
Thanks for reading.