“Pity,” Pierre Purvis de Chavannes, 1887, WikiArt.

Part 2: Ancient Voices Beckoning

“Do you hear wind, sisters, ancient voices
Beckoning?” Ágausta asked of Betrys and
Myself, sea clouds scudding, brief moments
Subsiding, returning, night, day moaning
Thoughts descending from distant Faeroe
headlands: Keep people on home islands,
Mingle not to other isles, contain illness,
Kill at its roots.
Thus, Betrys explained to
Shepherd and fisher folk, wind-catching
Wool streamers they made, wind-wisdom
Revered, magical arts of Ágausta, Betrys.

Few flowering plants on Faeroe isles, teas
Of marigold, willow I brewed, forced sips
To sick, doses uncertain, hoping, praying
Meager remedies eased suffering. Ágausta’s
Medicine chest empty. One recourse, send
Her to Ireland herb-seeking, assistance of
Father Blàthan at Skellig Mhór. Yet, of older
Wiser Ágausta, wind-listener, we were
Perplexed, single longboat, twelve praying
Norsemen, assisting sick at Kirkjubøur,
Holy warriors not witnessed nor known.

Upon grassy knoll, swords upheld by blades,
Crosses making, in unison they sang-prayed,
“Our father, high-heaven sailing, honoured
Is your name, sea-reign unending, thy will
Be done in meade-halls as in heaven, daily
Meat and marrow, evils deeds committed
Forgiven, undefeated by our enemies, we
Stand against death shadows, singing ale
Songs forever.” Longboat they prepared,
Timbers removed, prayer place, cross
Erected upon stone-laid monument.

Norse ship of sail pushed from beach,
Oars to water taken, fresh-greased sail
Raised, of Father’s Blàthan’s bird-bark
Druidic magic, Ágausta sang whilst
Plowing white-cresting waves, solar-stone
Dark-clouded sky guiding to northern
Albion isles, south along grassy clifftops
Of Ireland, on far horizon disappeared,
Betrys and I wonderment witnessed,
Faeroe folk came forward, fires built,
Single sheep slaughtered, blood sprinkled
On stones of cross, on foreheads smeared.

“Saint Magnus Cathedral,” Barthélemy Lauvergne, 1805-1871, Wikipedia.

Christian and pagan rituals, rites admixed,
Celebrated through dark night, smoke and
Fire-sparks upward spiraling, rejoicing at
Dawning sunrise, stones aligned, souls of
Dead from cold graves rising, final farewells,
Ascending, daughters and sons, spirit of
High-heaven seafarer, upon this pagan
Place, first Christian church will be built,
Yes, we were beyond ourselves, living,
Dead, eternal light, we knew not pain,
Hunger, disease, nor warring strife.

Around 1300 A. D., Magnus Cathedral was erected at Kirkjubøur
and remains 
an uncompleted ruins. Written whilst listening to
“The Hurdy Gurdy Man
by Donovan. Thanks for reading.     

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