Pure Northernness

“Like a voice from far more distant regions, there came a moment when I idly turned the pages of the book and found the unrhymed translation of Tegner’s Drapa and read

I heard a voice that cried,

Balder the beautiful

Is dead, is dead–

I knew nothing about Balder; but instantly I was uplifted into huge regions of the northern sky…cold, spacious, severe, pale, and remote…”

–C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy

 

Take the day and walk your lot.

The hours aren’t enough,

Foot by foot,

To stake a claim on vacant creation

Whose master they’ve rejected.

 

Devil’s dust and cloud’s whitest white.

Restlessly simmering, hot waters are trapped;

To drain into cold seas would mean relief.

But the ground cracks,

Rivers of fire forge new ways.

Continental causeways and glacier bridges

Test time,

Looking on with grimaced surmise.

 

Who then,

When even Odin,

Abandoning his horse,

Chose to ride with raven’s wings

To prey on what was dead,

But

The men applaud

Let the chieftains sing.

***

I wrote this poem years ago when I was reading Song of the Vikings by Nancy Marie Brown, researching for a project I was working on. It was around Christmastime years before that when I began another project that I thought of immediately when I recently reread this poem.

I may be sharing that story this holiday season as part of a Story Series. However, unlike Letters to Elliot Hawthorne and Wayward, this story does not have an ending.

Yet.

I have written only so much. It would be shared in only two parts in December/ January, and although it is set on Christmas Eve, it’s not a very light-hearted story, kind of like this poem. I jump genres in it, so be warned; it is not like my other stories. However, I like it and I feel like sharing it. So, come back, it’s coming soon.

“What I had read was the words Siegfried and the Twlight of the Gods…Pure ‘Northernness’ engulfed me: a vision of huge, clear spaces hanging above the Atlantic in the endless twilight of Northern summer…I knew that I had met this before, long, long ago in Tegner’s Drapa…”

–C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy
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