Valiant demands of ice and brine,
Heroic adventures, lure of west
Lands, ten square-sailed longboats,
Viking warriors, women, child-folk,
Left security of stone-houses and
Hamlets to fates of welling waves,
Gleaming ice-islands, seafaring
Norsemen of Eric Red.
Trusting strong ships to Norse gods,
Vikings stood tall on heaving crests,
Fearing not cold wind nor freezing
Spray, for they were determined all,
Warrior to shieldmaiden, venturing
Undaunted, glory, honor, and promise
Of dark-forested Markland, new life,
Explorers, safety of stone hearth fires.
As they pushed west, sea-peril was
Their fate, Odin’s challenge, roiling
Clouds low on doomed horizon,
Tempests howling, sleet blowing,
Sails tearing. Undaunted, Vikings
Pushed head-on, dark and dawn,
Ships heeling, waves rolling, winds
Mast breaking, westward pressing.
Crashed on foam-spewed rocks, three
Ships lost, half children and women,
Frozen-drowned, ice-cluttered killing
Seas in sight of snow-swept Markland
Mountains. For one month, repairs they
Made, salvaged losses from rock-surf,
Bodies buried, pressing south, hard
Promises kept for Vinland Meadows.
Seven ships, hopes rekindled they
Made south, offshore on following
Seas, killing rocks astern, second
Pursuit for Vinland began, sun and
Warmth, moon reflecting on silver
Cresting seas, steered by Odin’s
Hand, shieldmaiden’s first newborn
Quickening, Viking explorers’ reign.
On open headland, Vikings made
Landfall. In sod-covered longhouses,
They found years of prosperity.
In nine months, their women gave
Birth, spreading Norse bloodline
Unimpeded from Iceland, Greenland
To Vinland Meadows, desolate
Northern shores of Newfoundland.