“Charity,” Pierre Purvis de Chavannes, WikiArt.

Part 8: Conflict and Realization (Last)

Conflict of faith, Christ and pagan gods,
Names, deeds unspeakable from dark past,
Upon Faeroe Island cliffs, I, Sister Muriel,
Realized connection to both faiths, one not
Excluding the other, as I had rejected Betrys,
Except in healing sick and injured, uneasy
Meeting of twin sisters. Ice ankle-deep, sails
Torn, ship wood splintered, Gunnolf could
Not return me to Ireland until repairs made.
Lo! On horizon’s edge, single Viking longboat
Approached, not Norway lumber felling, but
Dyrfinna and Betrys, wave plowing, two
Women together, helm-strong.

Days upon white-cresting waves, our faiths led
To sister-meeting on Faeroes, eventual return
To Ireland. Silver crucifix and chalice given to
Gunnolf in Christ’s love and peace, I gave
Instead to hermetic monks stone hovels on
Island  hilltops. May their riches be not in
Worldly things but sacraments, communion
With Christ. For me, I sought Holy Mother
Mary, visitation in dreams or apparitions,
Bathed in her radiant light. Touched by pagan
Gods, emptiness of soul I felt, despair and
Desolation as rocky windswept slopes.

Thus were my thought-feelings as I huddled
In sea-spray safety of Norse longboat Ireland
Bound, warriors once enemies were brothers,
Remaining on stark island off Irish northern
Shores. Realization, during this soul-searching
Quest, I felt as if Mary, Holy Mother, had been
Watching o’er me, protecting as I navigated my
Conflicts. I reflect her struggled turmoil under
Roman rule, religion and culture trampled
By 10,000 Roman solders, Christ’s death by
Crucifixion, glory of his resurrection, promise
Of eternal life beyond hills of Galilee.

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

What comes from such trials? Betrys and I
have adopted sorceress-sister, Dyrfinna, large
With male child. What wisdom will he hold,
Born amidst adversity and fighting, perhaps
Peace-making between invading Viking and
Irish clans? Can we become one broad-backed
Sea-people, warriors, taking to sails and oars
Instead of swords? For now, I am returning
Not to abbey at Inis Fathlinn, instead to high-
Sloped isle of Skellig Mhór, seeking Father
Blàthan’s guidance, weeks of prayer and
Meditation amongst sea-crashing waves.

Thus concludes another series of “Sister Muriel” poems, where she takes sabbatical 
at Skellig Mhór or Michael: http://www.worldheritageireland.ie/skellig-michael/
Thanks for reading and for your supportive comments.

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