Long Range Mountains, photo courtesy of Stan Collins, Rocky Harbour, Newfoundland.
Long Range Mountains, photo courtesy of Stan Collins, Rocky Harbour, Newfoundland.

During Greenlandic winter-ending nights,
Sea ice moaned at Viking camps, grinding,
Cracking, painful wails, beckoning calls
Echoing from distant fiord shores, spring
Slow emerging, ice persisted, riding with
Wind and tide, leads opening, closing and
Refreezing, hummock ice piled high, deep
Rumblings, alluring Norseman Sæmundr.

His mind entranced by sorrowing strains,
Sæmundr’s wife and children pleaded for
Him to resist dangers haunting tortured
Plains, rotten ice and polar bears, perils
And pitfalls his fevered brain refused to
Fathom. Thus he paced high-sloped shores,
Yearning for gleam of heaving ice beyond
His mortal reach.

From stark sea-edge, Sæmundr followed
Advance of chaotic slabs lapping at his
Feet, retreating to open ocean, moaning
Wail of ice too strong, he leapt from shore
Upon teetering slabs, land to his back, he
Ran along narrow leads, springing to and
From large ice pans on swelling seas, beset
With floebergs as far as eyes could see.

Lured by wind-swept specters, tormented
Icy cries, Sæmundr bounded a dozen versts
From land, snow-swept mountaintops now
As pinnacled icebergs glistened in spring
Sun. No path to land returning, he cared
Not for family or his life, mesmerized by
Sirens of hissing ice, marooned on bergy
Islands free floating on heaving brine.

Above him sea-clouds scudded, his Green-
Land home a shrouded cape, beneath him
Rafting ice, sea currents steered to over-
Washing waves, shrill voices of Arctic ice
Gave way to howling winds. As Sæmundr
Realized magic spells that captivated his
Mind, his ice-island shattered into pieces,
Another life lost to rolling seas.

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