"Gunnlöð," Anders Zorn, 1893, WikiArt photo.
“Gunnlöð,” Anders Zorn, 1893, WikiArt photo.

As Norse clans, mystery lived with us as
Blood-kin, Christian-pagan rites observed,
Scripture and superstitions, Christ’s cross,
Odin’s hammer, both as necklace I wore. Yet
This sorcery was beyond all knowing. “Brithe,
Come!” they called to me, as was Auvindr,
Elder-sage so beckoned, one eye battle lost,
Meanings discerned more than most with two,
For overnight Hrafnson of 10-year wandered
Lost, dark stone steps arising into spruce hills.

Amongst us tracking men set out, sword, shield,
And dogs, of Hrafnson clothes-scent they strove,
Footprints, broken twigs, ending at stone steps,
Heavy overgrown, no further sign nor scent.
Fear of ancient ones once occupying this land,
No name we knew, vestiges we had seen, ships
Fog passing, glimpse of lantern light or wave-
Riding prow. This day, steps found, for altar
Or beacon fires, we knew not, for Hrafnson
Steps arrived, his path no further trekked.

Two groups we divided, one back searching
For Hrafnson. Steps we searched, Auvindr,
Myself, with battle-axe and sword, thick spruce
Branches cleared. Stone steps lost in earth and
Vines. Auvindr and I hand-exposed first three,
Protecting prayers, Father, Son, Holy Ghost. To
Amazement, most was time-hidden, length one
Tall man, width half as much, footstep-worn,
Auvindr thought fifty people, hundreds year
Passed, yet ten-times older than he reckoned.

Into tangled heights Auvinder and I climbed,
Mossy steps vine lost, spruce limb-covered
Ground, sword hacking, no sign of Hrafnson or
Anyone. At summit, altar found to sun, moon,
Or archaic gods, age-bent man greeting. “I am
Hrafn-elder, amongst you I was born and lived,
Before Norse discovered Markland shores.”
To knees I knelt, necklace shown of Christ and
Odin, Auvindr and I prayed as humbled ones,
No harm to us befall.

Star-stories elder Hrafn told, sky-fathers, “old
As light,” he said, “altar to venerable ancestry.”
Upon center stone we stood, all-thing of time
We witnessed, ice-sheets, archaic Markland
Mariners, chert-stone arrowheads, stone steps
Shining, they greeted us upon this mount, time
As river flowed, peoples of this place from
Ancient eras, until we heard calls hailing us,
Hrafnson they found, at base of stone steps
Waiting, thus our visions vanished.

“Ingolf” by P. Raadsig, 1850, Viðeyjarstofa in Viðey, Reykjavik. Wikipedia photo.
“Ingolf” by P. Raadsig, 1850, Viðeyjarstofa in Viðey, Reykjavik.
Wikipedia photo.

Around hearth fires, we tell this tale, young
Minds and ears legend-fixed, as winter winds
Farmstead whine and wail. Only to ourselves,
Auvindr and I whisper of old skyfarers, seas
Of light they sailed, unmeasured voyages,
Surpassing Norse longboats. Lo! For children,
bedtime stories of altar steps have become,
When restless cannot sleep, hunting dogs and
Battle axes, “Saga of Hrafnson” sends Norse
Children drifting to their dreams.

Norse muse Brithe has returned with winter migration
Right Whales off Mid-Atlantic East Coast.

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