Vikinger…

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
the rumbling
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
and fall
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
Valhalla
Where I will sing away
eternity with
Meade and Meat upon
my breath

Author’s note:
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,

ERICviking-ship-by-fjord-in-western-norway

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About Eric

Writer/Plumber/Poet/Father/Gentleman/Romantic
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57 Responses to Vikinger…

  1. Heartafire says:

    Fabulous writing as always, thanks for the glimpse into your family history. I hope you will someday restore your grandfather clock, what a treasure! Peace and love!

  2. Love the poem and the personal history behind it.

  3. Well, you know I love this poem. πŸ™‚ It’s perfect!

    Pride in one’s heritage is a tricky business, that’s for sure. But, without starting a huge political debate, can any people, Americans included, say there aren’t dark moments in their history? So, if everyone else can be proud, certainly Norwegians can be — at least proud of the good parts.

    SkΓ₯l!

  4. Emily C says:

    Wonderful, all of it. I am over half Norwegian myself. My mother being 100%, although born in the US. My father has done extensive genealogy tracing my blood back to 1250 in Ireland, and almost as far back in Norway. Also, I am a descendent of Harald Fairhair, the Flaxen-haird King of Norway, although he had a huge brood of up to 20 sons…so there may be plenty of us. In fact, perhaps you and I share some blood. πŸ˜‰ You can read about him here. I have a minor in European History, along with my Political Science degree, so all of this stuff interests me. And I extra like you because you share the same kind of interest! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harald_Fairhair

    • Eric says:

      WOW!!! Thanks, Emily! I’m definitely going to check this out!
      So glad we have yet another connection!
      Very excited to know more about you!
      πŸ™‚
      ❀

      • Emily C says:

        And guess what? Despite my hefty 5/8s Norwegian, I studied Swedish in college. I am 1/8 after all, enough to justify…probably not according to my Norwegian ancestors rolling in their graves at my betrayal. πŸ˜‰

        • Eric says:

          LOL! that’s amazing!
          I really have thought a lot about trying to trace back my history even further than my uncle did.
          It just involves so much information that I don’t personally have.
          But I envy people, like you, who know so much more about their bloodlines than I do.
          πŸ™‚

          • Emily C says:

            Well, I’m terribly lucky my dad did it for me. πŸ™‚ Can’t say I’d have the persistence or attention span at this time in my life!

            • Eric says:

              I understand! each time i’ve started to piece things together in the past, life always comes along and says, “really? you think you’ve got time for this? LoL.”

  5. VictoryInTrouble says:

    I love this. Your history and the poem you wrote. I think a lot of people can relate to not agreeing with everything their ancestors did. But you can still be proud of the good things. I am listening to the third How To Train Your Dragon audiobook right now, so this poem was fitting. πŸ™‚ (btw, these audiobooks are excellent. This is our second time through all the books.)

    • Eric says:

      LOL! Nicholas loves How to Train your Dragon. Not a day goes by that he doesn’t tell me something about a dragon species from that series..and Toothless is everywhere in our house! He was Hiccup this halloween too! his costume was really cool! πŸ™‚

  6. I am bouncing on my feet in glee! What a great privilege to even know that much about your family’s history. I can go back only so far before the thread is lost. We were sucked into The Last Knigdom this past fall on BBC America. Based on the Bernard Cornwell novels. It was very well done. Vikings and Saxons collide in Wessex. And, and… Loved your poem! Of course I did!

  7. Eric, this is incredibly cool! πŸ˜€ Do you know Hiccup and Toothless?! 😜 The movie is so cute! Love those two together! That is awesome you like history. My favorite class in 10th grade was history, had an amazing teacher! I enjoy the WWII era the most. A thief? You? I don’t think so…wait, maybe of hearts of women! 😊❀️ Can’t wait for another post from the journal!! πŸ˜€ Don’t keep me on the edge of my seat too long, I might fall off! Lol

  8. Elizabeth Helmich says:

    “The surf heaving the hull of my dragonship….imbued with the spirit of an ancient oak…Salt and Rage upon my lips” – and the whole ending. All right, the whole thing is fucking awesome. Love, love, love it!! I’ve started a poem on Lagertha, but I wish to do her proper justice, so it needs work.
    As for your history – how amazing is that?!? I’m not always proud of my German/Irish heritage, I mean, what culture didn’t do dastardly things, though some admittedly more than others. I’m impressed how you’ve been able to trace it back, have you gotten it charted out? That would be something worth hanging for sure. Being of Norwegian ancestry means you get to wear a Bad Ass badge, in my mind. I’ll imagine it there, just under your uniform. πŸ™‚
    The clock – oh, so sad. Such a task is not for many. Excellent post Eric. ❀

    • Eric says:

      Thank you, Elizabeth! I had a feeling you would love this one.
      I would be so eager to read that as soon as you post it! πŸ™‚ ❀

      True, every race has its darker parts…that’s absolutely true. When I think about the Viking Era it definitely calls to my blood.
      And there is so much more I want to learn.

      • Elizabeth Helmich says:

        You know how I love my strong woman. One day, I may even be amongst their ranks. Yes, of course I love it! We are Vikings in spirit. πŸ™‚

  9. Rita says:

    Brother, I am not in the surprised by the fact that you come to me from Viking stock. The poem as usual is beyond great, but the look into your history sets my soul to dancing. I hope to see the clock when it is restored. Love you ❀️

  10. thefeatheredsleep says:

    Have you seen the show Vikings? I wanted to but someone said it was extremely gory.

    • Eric says:

      I have…and it is at times very gory. The story is very rich though…and I enjoy following the lives of the characters.

      • thefeatheredsleep says:

        So it’s worthwhile? More gory than say Game of Thrones?

        • Eric says:

          I’ll say that the gore is at least not hand in hand with the extremely uncomfortable situations in GoT. It may be on par with it..but your emotions can relax a bit when it comes to graphic displays of cruelty and/or violent sexual situations.

      • thefeatheredsleep says:

        I’m half Egyptian half French-Spanish, born in france, now living in America but i look scandanavian. Feel like saying to my genes, make up your mind! I’m the albino in the family πŸ˜‰

  11. Ms. Vee says:

    Delightful Eric! I hope you restore the grandfather clock. What treasure to behold. Thank you for sharing this very interesting poem, and your ancestry. Blessings and peace.

  12. I ❀️ this poem Eric and reading about your family history and Viking warriors!

  13. mandibelle16 says:

    Awesome poem about vikings and your family’s history. That is very cool you can trace it back to the vikings so far. My own family on one side, goes back to Germany and the Reformation. I love that we are able to see so far down our lineage these days and it’s not all becoming lost.

  14. moonskittles says:

    Eric, this is such an intimate piece. It was a thrill reading the poem and the note. Your roots are always showing in your writing, and it is magical to see! πŸ™‚

  15. I know, if I scroll down, I’m going to see Odinsknot in your comment section.

    βš”πŸ›‘ This is epic. Love this: “the hilt of my sword the iron and wood on my arm
    imbued with the spirit of an ancient oak…” πŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’š My heart beat a little faster just reading the words here. And Valhalla… πŸ’š (Funny. There are more hearts in this comment than in any of your romantic poems. I’m odd.) Your family history is very cool. I’m not sure about claiming part of something. That’s a philosophical question for another time… #mast

    • Eric says:

      Of course you know, Odinsknot would be here…he and I are of the same mind when it comes to these things.
      And those πŸ’šs are pretty Damn awesome, just like you. I love your odd!
      …and maybe we can have that talk sometime, I’d love to know your theory on it.

      #mast.

  16. theonlineviking says:

    I know I’m late to the party, but an interesting quick read. It’s nice to see different views and opinions on past history, especially that of the Vikings. I believe that, no matter your heritage, be proud of who you are. After all, it all combined to bring you to where you are today. Don’t let the fear of other’s opinions control your decision on how you should feel about your past bloodline. Will definitely read some of your other posts.

    • Eric says:

      Thank you so much! I appreciate you taking the time to read and to comment. and you are right! I hope you enjoy looking around here! Thanks for stopping by!

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