"Viking warrior families, husbands, wives, children, center of long sod-houses..."
“Viking-warrior families, husbands, wives, children, center of long sod-houses…”

Upon windswept shores we made our home,
Nameless strand, tween Markland and hopes
Of Vinland, lush grass, meadows wide, thick
Stands of spruces, their voices rustling in
Morning breeze. First task, finding hearth-
Stones, or as we believed, they would find
Us, greetings upon desolate hills, slab rocks
Seeking purpose, willingly wrested from
Sleeping soil, Norse customs sail-brought
From Greenland, Faroe sheep islands.

At arm’s length we walked, swords and
Shields, Viking-warrior families, husbands,
Wives, children, center of long sod-houses,
Prayers and songs to pagan and Christian
Gods, we searched as if lost dog or sheep,
Long sticks ground tapping, until sharp,
Flat edge revealed from grass overgrown,
Time-slumbering blanket. By hands and
Tools we dug. Come to us, we have found
You, awaiting in stark and distant land.

Two hearthstones were required, flat base,
Vertical back, upon which we built our fires:
Light and warmth, cooked meals, around it
We debated fated plans as Norsemen do,
Staring into flame, map making, sailing west
Or south, promises of better life over distant
Sea horizons, ideas blood coursing, marrow
Deep in us all, warriors, wives, children,
Longboats sailing across icy whale paths,
Life-destinies revealed in smoky flame.

L'Anse aux Meadows, Viking settlement recreation, Newfoundland, Wikimedia photo Dylan Kereluk, 2003.
L’Anse aux Meadows, Viking settlement recreation, Newfoundland, Wikimedia.

In hearth and longhouse building, all worked,
So it belonged to all of us, each duties to
Perform, ground clearing, sea-sand gathered
For base leveling, flat slab stone laid, each
Our mark made, metal etched stone, central
Flame of ship-like houses. Small trench dug
For vertical upright, mark of our clan, words
Of ceremony spoken, stone-fire blazing, smoke
Sky-rising, homestead or boat repair station,
Norsemen had arrived on new-found shores.

Whilst poetic interpretation of Norse hearth building, descriptions of Icelandic and longhouse recreation at L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland, may be of interest.

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