“Virgin Mary,” Joaquin Sorolla, 1887, WikiArt.

Part 6: Betrys’ Christian Clouds

“Rumors we have heard of this Mary, far-
Reaching are our eyes and ears. Your faith
Means nothing to us,” my Norse captors
Taunted, smoke of hearth fires, hands tied,
More questions, doubting sunstone claims
Even from Ágausta, until swollen-faced
Betrys blurted, “Beware, Norsemen, cursed
I have been by Christian clouds high upon
Island monastery. Accept sunstone magic
Spells, Norse deaths sealed 400 years.”

By eyes glaring, dozen Norse warriors knew
Betrys’ words spoke true, betrayal between
Twin sisters, threat of swords and shields,
They cast sunstone into fire of glowing
Coals. My quick fate sealed as Norsemen,
Onto rugged rocks I was naked-tied, head
Just above life-chilling cold incoming tides.
Ropes struggling, I imaged Betrys steeping
In welcomed hot bath. My heart hardened,
I thought of Mary, but uttered no prayers.

Familiar voice I heard, Ágausta kneeling
Overhead, “Fiord tides come in swiftly,
I’m here so you won’t die alone.” Dagger
Blade face-held “Cut my ropes,” I pleaded.
“No, then I will have to take your place.”
Melody she sang, “No mother for my
Daughters, no daughter for my mother,
My blood-breath not given so that you
May live. Where is your blesséd Mother
Mary when death looms so close at hand?”

Another frantic gulp of brackish water, my
Face beneath night-black waves, struggling
Against ropes, rocks, these murky depths
My grave, I gasped final breath. “Mary,
Christ, I shall not deny you to live beyond
This day.” Into light I arose, body lifeless
In relenting tides. Death greeted me not
As foe, but as welcoming friend, my soul
Floating above Norse fiords, cresting seas,
Amongst Betrys’ Christian clouds.

“Soul Carried to Heaven,” William-Adolphe Bouguereau, circa 1878, WikiArt.

“Muriel is no more,” announced Ágausta,
“Her death painless-quick, self-sacrificed,
Gods forgive us, for we know not what we’ve
Done, solar-stone gifts offered: navigation,
Norse exploration, dominance four centuries
Hence, grass-lush countries, headings north
By west, whale-paths our noble quest. Betrys
Lifted Muriel from fiord, naked body cold-
Pale, eyes death’s dark distant stare, bitter
End of Sister’s Faeroe Island Voyage.

As with miracles and mysteries, another poetic part follows.
Thanks for reading.

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