Viking Burial

The skiff rides inside a wave
of sand. The grave-robbers
peel back the sod on the old dune
& take everything but
the bronze hammer of Thor,
an odd coin or two
& several crosses — hammers
on their way to being men.

They re-bury the skeletons
from seven graves in
this one small craft:
three males & four females,
all dead before the age of 30
from disease or famine
& now jumbled together
like beads from a broken cord.

The pastures are poor,
trees have grown scarce,
the land is hungry for wood.
With its sod roof back in place,
the boat can melt into the soil
until only the iron nails remain,
orderly rows preserving the shape
that faith once took.

Revised 7/24/07.

2 Replies to “Viking Burial”

  1. & several crosses — hammers
    on their way to being men.

    That image is pulling more than its weight here. But just those two lines by themselves are a wonder.

    Those nails are pulling hard, too.

    Well done.

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