Leif Erikson

For love of land by none beheld
He flew, as the wild goose in winter,
Ever westward cleaving water,
A wind-taut sail for his wings.

Free as the whales that marked his passage,
He sailed where no king's writ yet ran.
Strife abandoned like so much baggage,
He claimed a chapter in the story of man.

There were men already in the land he found:
Ten thousand years they bided there.
They slew the lions and the mastodons,
They mapped the stars and raised great cities.

But they knew not Europe, nor Europe them.
The wild Atlantic, frost-giant fierce,
With storms smashed ships that dared to venture.
Fell Ran fed well on the flesh of the bold.

So fill your horns with mead or ale,
And raise them high in memory of him.
Most men lived and died in one village —
But Erikson flung open the gates of the world!

—San Diego 10/21/2000 A.D.
(Calafia XXXV A.S.)
a.d. XII Kal. Nov., 2753 A.U.C.
Copyright © 2000 by Green Sky Press.  All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this poem, or any portions thereof, in any form.  The background on this page is original.  The image at the top of the page is modified from the emblem of Vikings The North Atlantic Saga.

This poem was published in The Serpent's Tongue, November 2000.