Listen now to legend-might of folk-kings!
Eldest daughter of Styrmir, daughter of
Hræfna, Muriel was able seafaring maiden.
Born of blacksmith family, Styrmir was
Protector-provider of his clan, hammer
Heart-fire wielding, sparks spraying, blade-
Edge forming, base-earth to cunning steel.
Hræfna turned her daughter’s gaze from
Father’s metal pounding to silvered-wavéd
Fiord waters, net mending, ways of fish
Taking, longboat sailing. Here, Muriel
Awakened, christened by bow-plowing
Spray of heaving brine swells, life of sea
Love-fame, god-fearing ocean glory.
Told amongst mead-hall fires, to outlying
Coasts Muriel’s heart yearned, unbridled
Desire of icy whale-paths, songs of Mark-
Land, dreams of Vinland, she grew from
Mother-taught sea-child to breast-armored
Shieldmaiden. So keen her western visions,
Viking elders gave her water-karve, shields
And swords her father hand-crafted.
Yea, legend tells she navigated by sun and
Stars, communed in mystic ways with sea
And moon. With Welling-Wave, goddess
Hrönn, she made wave-song, avoiding
Perilous ice-islands. By needle magic, she
Navigated unscathed to icy shores, grey-
Plumed smoke of Grimsvötn molten-fire.
Armed with shield and sword, Viking raiders
Landed, first Norsemen to set foot on verdant
Grasslands, beckoning expansion of their
Rule and realm. Muriel, however, with water-
Karve remained. In cold surf on bended knee,
She gave humbled thanks and homage to
Goddess Hrönn, guide of white-crested seas.
At Muriel’s bidding, Viking raiders built a head-
High cairn on a nearby hilltop. Made of water-
Smoothed sea-rock, Muriel placed a rounded
Flat white stone, honoring Gmot, moon god,
Guiding sea-companion. Viking raiders saw it
As invading sea-glory. To Muriel, her cairn was
Heart-built homage to Nordic gods she loved.
Loyal to Viking tribal elders, Muriel and raiders
Returned home on Nordic ocean ways, claiming
Snaeland for their king. A new world to explore,
They settled snowy ice-land without need of
Warring bands. Honoring accomplished deeds,
Elders sent a dozen snekke ships, with warrior-
Rulers, families, and their slaves, treacherous
Wave voyage steered by seafaring Muriel.
Lost to cruel wind-waves, two longboats
Capsized during raging storms, landing on
Hammered shores, hulls wave-battered, proud
Masts shattered, Viking families lifeless,
Drowned, bitter ice-land dead. As sign from
Hrönn, their supply chests saved, foundering
Amongst rocks, keys waist-found on lifeless
Women, once loving mothers to their clan.
For forty Viking dead, raiders blamed lowly
Christian monks who lived in stone-house
Isolation. By axe and sword-hate, they killed
The monks for sins they’d not commit, a stain
On raiders Muriel would not forgive. With a
Handful of loyal followers, Muriel left ice-land
Her wave-karve loaded with stores, ever
Sailing westward to harkening, foreign shores.
Harp-bard fire-songs tell how Muriel reached
Greenland long before Eric Red. Rune stories
Recall she sailed west to Labrador, living her
Allotted days. Decades later, Viking explorers
Found her cairn a moonstone as its crown.
By sea-songs, Meriel lived a god-protected life.
When feebled by old age, with weighted stones,
She sea-greeted Hrönn in depths off Labrador.
Modern legend relates that when venturing
Along Labrador Straits, trawlermen ride quietly
The welling waves for moonlight sea-songs
Whispered in ship’s rigging. As a guiding spirit,
Muriel chants her ancient wave-song, watching
Over hardy mariners as they tend their fishing
Nets, specially kindred souls with Viking blood
Coursing through their veins.
This is my first effort at a longer legend-type poem of the Viking era, using terms and structure of these early works. The name “Muriel” originates from Old Celtic: muir – sea
and geal – bright or shining, or “Shining Sea,” an appropriate
name for the seafaring heroine.