Saturday, May 16, 2009

L’Anse aux Meadows

From Iceland’s wind-blown heights,
Viking mothers look out on the sea
where heaving waters
surge and fall and
swallow stalwart sons
who plow the depths
to harvest sustenance.

At heaven’s rim an ancient god
in eagle form sits silently
and stares; stirring into flight,
his wings send winds
that blow on men
and cover all the earth.

From a hollow vik, Bjarni
sailed for Greenland’s shore
to visit with his father.
The eagle’s wings
pushed his long boat far away
to a place unknown by Norsemen. From his bobbing craft
he looked upon the treeless
shores of Helluland.

But a new land
was not Bjarni’s quest.
He sought Greenland,
found his father,
never went viking
while his parent lived.
Leifur heard the wondrous tale
and searched the sea
with thirty men to find the land
that Bjarni saw.
When he found the place
he went ashore. Skraelings,
dark and naked, came to see
men tall as trees with
hair as yellow as buttercups.

There were fruits
where white man never
yet had gone, nor
tasted of its bounties.
He called it Wineland
for grapes voluptuous on the vines.
With fruit and timber
Leifur started for his home,
to tell of strange places,
and people stranger still.

Iceland was astir
with Leifur’s saga.
Thorfinn goaded to adventure
took his wife, and
an expedition to settle
in the new found land.

At L’Anse aux Meadows,
amid wilderness and wild men,
Snorri came to Thorfinn
and to Gudrid, the
first Caucasian born
in Iceland’s colony.
Five hundred years
would pass before
Columbus came for Ferdinand
and Isabella to claim for Spain
the world that Leifur found.

D. Gary Christian
Santa Clara, Utah February 16, 1999

1 comment:

FitToSeeJane said...

Hi, I've enjoyed looking around your site. I am interested in if there is a tour or photo collection of the icelandic homes around Spanish Fork Utah. My sister has a lovely old home there from about 1900, and she told me it was built in the Icelander style. I think they are beautiful and was wondering if there was a photo archive online.