Part 7: North Sea Sailing to Sheep Islands
East-sailing from Norse shores, I yearn for
Ultima Thule, sea or land, I care not. Thus
Is my calling, seabirds, currents guiding,
Refuge I take at Sheep Islands, fresh water,
High-hill seeking. By this odyssey, I feel as
Much lost as saved. As Sister Muriel, I have
Strayed from path of light, fearful am I, the
Wisdom-way has abandoned me, my soul
Sustained bone-shattering blow. I am more
Norse than Irish, Druid as Christian, stoic
Wanderer, fearing not storming seas. Lo!
Sandoy waves and winds lie down for me.
Life wrested from death, I understand more
Of Christ, sacrifice and salvation, breaching
Tomb, breaching seas, we both plowed forth
Into destiny, for this reason I wear Christ’s
Cross and Odin’s hammer, rulers of north-
Lands, pagan ceremonies and rites still held,
Secrets of closed doors, prayers for rain, for
Milking cows, hunt and harvest, without this
We live in fear, abandoning old ways. Thus,
Are my thoughts, breast-bursting, sun and
Star navigating high seas. Lo! Winds and
Waves have encompassed me.
Upon distant shore, familiar form I see, face
Hood-concealed, reminiscent of Skellig Mhór,
Green pastures of Ireland, cliff-collected eggs,
Soul-restoring drink of cistern water, steps
Six-hundred, prayers rising into cloud-swept
Heights. Have I grown doubtful of holy words?
Gospels my shield, hands and back take to
Oars, working round island shores, his arms
Waving beckon me, steer-board direction given
Within arrow-range, rock-crashing surf, hard
Push to looming headlands. Lest drowned in
Shame, waves and winds have lifted me.
Final push, I behold balding head, long beard,
Welcome sight of deep-set eyes, Father Blàthan
Awaiting on Sheep Isles shores. Sailing ship
Run hard upon beach, to knees I fall on island
Sand, all endured took flight, storm petrel
Wings wave-darting. Necessities of life, Father
Provides: cheese, honey, bread, island-gifts.
Too long I have missed stone cell, sleeping-
Slab pallet, morning bells and prayers, Christ’s
Suffering servant I have become. Lo! North
Sea wind and waves have resurrected me.
Soul-searching introspection, Sister Muriel sails from fiords of Norway to Faroe
Islands, course taken by Vikings to reach Iceland and Greenland. Here, sister meets
her spiritual mentor, Father Blàthan, and the journey unfolds. Thanks for reading.
Norse-related music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cy44ocuoWhE