Crouched below the rail
I feel the surf heaving the
hull of the dragonship
beneath my feet
the creak and the groan
of the wood planks
as the oars stroke forward
we lurch headlong
into the beach
my grip tightens
around the hilt of my sword
the iron and wood on my arm
imbued with the spirit
of an ancient oak
it will form with the others
in the shieldwall
I breathe in the sea air
as my heart thunders
like Sleipnir’s eight hooves
inside my chest
whisper an oath
to the Allfather
as I paint my face
with the Woad and Madder
that when the horn sounds
and I twist over the side
heavy and hard into the surf
my feet will find the sand
and I will spring
like a bolt of lightning
from Thor’s forge
Salt and Rage upon my lips
I will break upon the enemy line
like a wild beast
And we will drive them before us
crushing and smashing
like Fenrir’s maw
and if my foes blade
should bite my neck
let me awaken in
Where I will sing away
Meade and Meat upon
My Paternal Grandfather’s family was pure Norwegian when they came to America in the early 1900’s. They changed their name from Rolfson to Syrdal when they came here as many families did…a way of leaving part of their heritage behind and beginning a new life in the New World.
Syrdal, was the village where they were from and it is on the southern tip of Norway.
I’ve always been interested in learning more about my Norwegian Heritage…I’ve studied a lot about Norse History, Mythology…I wish I could learn the language but I haven’t been able to be very successful there.
Part of learning about that history, involves learning about The Viking Age.
From as far back as I can go…mid 1700’s…. it seems our bloodline runs to being farmers, much more than any history would suggest we were warriors.
Learning about the Vikings has taught me that a lot of what I thought I knew about them was either fantasy..or all out, untruth….
They are responsible for a lot of things that we use on a daily basis, especially when it comes to words!
They were masters at nautical navigation and seamanship
They were powerful warriors who preyed on each other, and the innocent bystanders on the shores of Europe.
They did not always prey on the helpless and sometimes their victims were far from innocent.
The important thing is, that we understand a great deal of what we think we know of them has been romanticized in order to form the backdrop to good stories. The 13th Warrior and (most recently) Vikings on the History Channel, immediately come to mind.
I’ve been catching up on the History Channel Series…I also study along with it to try to understand who Ragnar Lodbrok actually was..and I’ve come to find a great deal of what is portrayed in the tv show was actually done by his sons, long after his death..again, we use what we need to use to make a compelling story…
And it is compelling…I enjoy it a lot…getting attached to characters and caring about their storylines.
It’s been sparking a fire in my heart to write the poem above…
It’s a strange thing, I will admit, when I watch these fictional tales…. I am sometimes filled with a great sense of pride, that my blood possibly flowed in the veins of some of these powerful warriors.
I look at their military prowess, strategy and the level of technology in their weaponry
I look at their forward thinking when it came to women and government and justice
And a part of me is proud of that…
Of course, I am a long way from being a warrior/pirate bent on violence and thievery…
What usually troubles me, is if you choose to claim a heritage…can you claim only the good parts?
If deep in my heart, I choose to wish that I share some DNA with these warriors/pirates bent on violence and thievery…can I choose to dismiss that part?
I know it doesn’t make me guilty of their crimes…but it does give me pause…before I point at the TV screen and exclaim..those were MY people!!
I guess it will stay an “unstable” feeling for me…
But I am proud of my family…at least those ones of whose history I am certain.
I have an antique grandfather clock that has been in my family for 300 years, at home in my garage….it’s in pieces, thanks to Hurricane Katrina…My dream is to one day restore it back to working condition.
Thanks for being here! and please! let me know what you think!
Peace and love, Dear Friends
Always, your humble servant,