“Vinland-Travel,” Finn Bjørklid, 2006, Wikimedia map.
“Vinland-Travel,” Finn Bjørklid, 2006, Wikimedia map.

Saga of lost sea-islands, Vikings left Markland
Rocky shores, skies sun-bright, summer winds
Too light for sailing, longships took to whale-
Paths by hard oaring, wave-winds pushed
Vikings south past towering ice islands, true
Course made to Vinland, grassy islands ocean
Ravaged, ill omens whispered, sights seldom
Seen, invisible islands, land laid still.

High tide, breakers off the bow, sinking islands,
Drowning narrow sandy isthmus, great grassy
Dune-mounds now knee-high, wasted from
Ever-pounding seas, cooler summers for five
Years, heavy winter sea ice brings navigation
Havoc, tree-felling in Markland, returning
Ships, safety of homesteads, Christian gods,
Distant Greenland fiords.

Assateague Island, Virginia Atlantic Ocean shore.
Assateague Island, Virginia Atlantic Ocean shore.

Washed away were Norse camps and signal-
Fires, no foot-holds, commanding view lost
Of ships sailing cresting waves in salt-thick
Air. Many dunes no longer lived, ocean pushed
Across barrier island, swath wide as longship
Hulls, prophetic foresight, telling stares, end
Of Viking habitation, seas rising, death knell
To weary sea-traveler’s boat-stands.

Orders given, more Markland trees felled,
Double boats sea-roving out and back to
Greenland fiords before winter ice closed in.
Viking days doomed, sunny meads are naught,
Poor farming, each year more livestock killed,
No household stores, fate worse than battle
Strife, warrior’s hope drawn away, abandoning
Brattahlíð farmsteads in disgrace.

Whilst this fictional Viking saga relates lost Vinland sea-islands,
this poem is based on rising-seas and storm damage to Assateague
Island on Virginia Atlantic Ocean shore. For more, see graphics in
this National Park Service illustrated pdf file. 

 

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