"Viking Settlement in Greenland," Archaeology in Europe Educational Resources.
“Viking Settlement in Greenland,” Archaeology in Europe Educational Resources.

Upon northwest Greenlandic seas, Brithe and
Her Viking warriors sailed, by Skute boats they
Flew, sea torrents heaving, avoiding pinch of
Oaken keel, Norsemen reckoning frozen brine,
Past snow-crested mountains, towering crystal
Isles, sagas Vikings sang, skein-woven mysteries
Of water, ice, and sky.

Separated from European trade, precious iron
For ships and tools they lost, Vikings scavenged
Driftwood from northern Greenland shores.
With bow and spear, they hunted walrus and
Seal, fear of pagan ages returned, heavy ice
Grinding in breaking surf, weary tribes and
Clans abandoned, further north they pushed.

Wanderers of prevailing currents, twixt Green-
Land and Helluland barrens, narrow floes Brithe
Explored, maze of colliding ice, Norsemen built
Houses, upturned boats across stacked stones,
Island ruins made. They sailed shimmering sea-
Wide open water, gathering of great mammals,
Basking in broad sunlight.

Ice Blink photo courtesy of National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), Dale Williams.
Ice Blink photo courtesy of National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), Dale Williams.

Confronted by sea-mysteries, Brithe beheld bright
Glint above cresting seas, mists of ancient pasts,
Spirit of Saint Olaf hovering, beyond sight and
Knowing, lights Vikings learned to heed, lest
Skute boats collide with massive ice sheets,
Breakers in dense fog, praise given to Norse
Gods, gift of guiding lantern light.

Lo! Vikings discerned water-clouds sea-traveling
Amongst vast ice, direction of open water they
Learned reflected in low brume, this sign from
Christian god, blessed spirits scudding o’erhead,
Protection by divine graces, safe passage made
To foreign lands or to family’s welcoming arms,
Stone-houses on lofty Greenland shores.

Saga of sea mysteries Brithe and Vikings sang,
Tales of sky, ice, and brine, how ocean lights
Reflect and shine, guiding sea-wanderers from
Greenland to distant lands, they prayed to Odin
And to Christian God, followers of King Olaf.
For his glory they took to open ocean, sailing
Ships, ice navigation, interpreting icy seas.

Within these few stanzas, Brithe and Viking sea-warriors related three Arctic ice phenomena: North-Water polynya, ice blink, and water-sky, observations used in modern-day ice navigation. For more on polynyas, see this link:
http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/fact-sheets/0001/01/01/north-water-polynya 

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