“Ocean-stretching without end…”

Memories of descending sea clouds, grim
Grey wall, sky and waves merging, longships
From Sheep Isles, valiant Norse families,
Three sailing sea-bolts, undaunted wave
Plowing, Iceland to Greenland, forsaken
By foaming seas, ice wood-splintering,
Hearts armor-clad in Christian faith,
Prayers to pagan gods, pained hopes of
Frozen spray, foam-streaked gales, ocean
Stretching without end.

Into fog and ice-islands five ships sailed,
Course guessing, no sun or stars to guide,
Ice forming on proud ship bows, sea-waves
Shipping, glimpse of surf breaking on rocky
Coasts, spirits uplifted, by blind-faith they
Steered, catapulting waves, crashing blows,
Three timber-torn ships, thrown upon rocks,
Norse families into freezing brine, heavy
With armor, wet cloaks, fates sealed to
Dismal depths, sea’s eternal sleep.

Thus, we were so awakened, screams night-
Heard, by torchlight we arrived at clifftops,
Foundering ships, bodies shore-washing,
Some alive, men, women, children, all death-
Lost, breathless pale. So few we saved wading
Chest deep, lest we become as these shipmates,
Death’s cold journey, never rising forth again
To Greenland sun. By hearth fires, broth and
Blankets, five souls fought death, returning
To us from waters dark and ice-cluttered.

Of fifty, these lived: mother, third daughter,
Second son, unrelated widow and orphans,
Miserable grief, mouths to feed, bodies to
Clothe, such accommodations made, fates
Unknown. Then my own child said, “One
Sea family, joined they should be.” Wisdom
Of young minds, widower of our clan, at
All-Thing debated, and so it was agreed,
Sea-formed family of six so banded, oaths
And vows, sod homestead raised.

"By torchlight we arrived at clifftops..."
“By torchlight we arrived at clifftops…”

This night during howling gales, children
Of these children, recall their life’s journey,
Voyage from Sheep Isle they know not,
Death amongst ice and rocks, families and
Longboats splintered, yet from these sea-
Origins, borne of grief and charity, Norse
Family emerged, gallant warriors, weaving
Maidens, loving and dagger swift, our clan
Better for them, prayers, praise given, cups
Raised high, saga of “Sea-Joined Family.”

Poem of sea deaths and family formed from survivors and
widower of Greenland Viking village.  For now, this concludes
this short series of Viking-Norse poems. Thanks for reading.

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