“Workbasket,” Albert Joseph Moore, 1979, WikiArt photo.

Part 8: Years Falling like Autumn Leaves

Weary sea-maiden I had become, washed
Into Sandoy inlet, first landfall of Faroe
Isles, cold-staggering, I collapsed at feet
Of Father Blàthan, memories of bitter teas,
Hearth-fire warmth, beyond this, I had no
Recollections, except for dreams, drifting
Above green-pastured hills, amidst heaven’s
Light, philosophic eye, thoughts voiced
Aloud, chartless and immortal, guiding
Arbiter of lives broken by injury, disease,
Farmer’s plow. Amongst these souls, I, too,
Lingered at edge of death, eternity.

Yet, I feared not dying, if such was round
Me, lifetime of burdensome toils, fleshed
Bone, grist of daily life, in faith to endure
One’s plight, as years and decades struggled
Forth, I lived in God’s love, accepting the
Unseen. In revelations, I understood faith
And fear. Faith is believing, felt but not seen,
Moments where light enters heart, declares
Aloud, “This I believe true!” Fear is much
The same, except darkness and injury reign
Heart and mind. O! How both I had known,
Simplicities of life, death and I embraced.

Except, I felt tug of prayer, familiar voice of
Father Blàthan, his petition to divine, life
Clinging by silver thread, delicate, severed,
healing, restored with painful gasp of breath,
Within his arms, my head held, tear-streaked
Face, love I had neither known nor felt, yet
Equal to that in sunlit clouds. Our eyes fixed,
Subtle smile, I realized gift of his last years so
I would live, unworthy I was of such sacrifice.
Alas! We shared same hour-glass sands. Yes,
I had witnessed what Father had always known:
Divine mercy of Christ, present everywhere.

“Beyond the Seas…” Nicholas Roerich, 1915, WikiArt.

“What happens now?” words of benumbed,
Fate-wandering child. “One more sea-voyage
To Iceland,” replied Father Blàthan. “Behold
Beauty of this austere world, Christian monks
Arriving on desolate shores.” As Christ’s sister
And druid wretch, time had twisted asunder,
Years falling like autumn leaves. That which
I sought  and feared, Ultima Thule, I had
Overcome, navigating congealed waves, washed-
Down by hammering spray, conquest equal
To seafaring Norse, saving Ireland’s churches,
Christ’s followers from plundering hoards.

Poem of revelation and sacrifice, Father Blàthan gives his remaining years so
Sister Muriel will live. What did Ultimate Thule represent beyond medieval
northern realms of congealing seas and liquid shores? Thanks for reading.   

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