Birka

 

Maybe what I miss most

Wasn’t the beige dwellings

housing our belongings.

Though I protected them with all my might

I longed to escape their confines.

 

Maybe what I miss most

wasn’t the calm lake that spilled

into the Baltic Sea.

Though it was a silent witness

where Solveig and I made secret love

beneath the twinkling eyes of the gods.

 

Maybe what I miss most

was a curl of Elin’s yellow hair

wisping up into the air

as she loosed her lethal arrow.

Cheeks flushed.

Eyes ablaze with the glory of war.

 

Maybe what I miss most

were sounds of military merriment in the tavern.

Victorious and raucous.

While I washed the blood off of my axe

in the quietness of the lake

that swallowed our stories into the water.

 

Maybe what I miss most

were the sounds of twenty boats

breaking a path through the Baltic Sea.

The promise of fortune and fate

drawing out the heaving breaths

of my army, working the oars through the black water

towards a destination far beyond

what we could see.

 

800px-birka_sweden_viking_grave_bj_581_by_hjalmar_stolpe_in_1889

 

Inspired by the very real historical Viking Warrior, who was first assumed to be male upon excavation in 1878. (And also inspired by a song with the same refrain). Due to the remains being buried with an arsenal of weapons and a game set, used in strategic thinking, it was clear that it was a warrior’s tomb.

It took more than a hundred years later for someone to examine the bones and confirm that the lack of Y-chromosomes indicates the remains were female. This caused much controversy. But the evidence speaks for itself, and the myth of the female Viking warrior became fact.

The artifacts in the tomb indicated she was a high ranking warrior. My poem tries to capture life through the eyes of this dead warrior, in the Viking village of Birka.

Geography plays a major role in the activities and organisation of a community. In this case, Birka (located in Sweden) was a major trading post between Northern Europe and the rest of the world.

Anthropological and historical studies show that much of what the modern world perceives as uniquely masculine or feminine gets debunked by findings such as these. Where medieval and sometimes ancient customs do not have the same roles and customs assigned to specific genders as we do today.

 

Written for dVerse Poets Pub

 

**Images from Smithsonian.com. Featured Image: (Antiquity Publications Ltd./drawing by Tancredi Valeri)

 

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A reconstructed Viking Age house in Birka. Image source: http://www.worldsheritage.travel.wordpress.com

 

 

 

Not that kind of woman

 

 

Empty bed in the morning

Loneliness sleeps beside me in the space you left behind

Coffee and breakfast for one

Conversation echoes from memories playing like a movie in my mind

 

Sunlight streams through the window

Touching my skin but it leaves me cold and restless

because I keep wondering

How did I get here? Where did it all go wrong?

Throw my coffee down the drain

along

with all thoughts of you

 

I want to give up, call it a day

On this disappointment we call life

Is there someone that can help me?

Help me to get back up

But I’m not that kind of woman

Giving up is not something I’m good at

Maybe it’s enough to keep me going

Going in the dark

 

The nights are way too long

There ain’t enough movies to distract myself from calling you

Fall asleep to the sounds of Hollywood

I slept in your arms hearing you breathe, listening to every heartbeat

 

I want to run back to where I used to belong

Comfortable familiarity like a 90s sitcom

Let it be, I must move on,

better things ahead,

that’s where I belong

 

I wont give up, wont call it a day

On this disappointment we call life

Is there someone that can help me?

Help me to get back up

See I’m not that kind of woman

Giving up is not something I’m good at

Maybe it’s enough to keep me going

Going in the dark

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