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Ego by Ramkumar Menon How Ego can affect you? How could you communicate to avoid ego clashes? [2,617 words]
Turning To Him by Randall Barfield No description. [354 words]
The Death Of My Mom by Randall Barfield A short reflection on a lack of tears for my mom. [565 words]
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The Immigrant Story
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The Immigrant Story
Elaboration on the Led Zeppelin's "The Immigrant Song".
[979 words]
David Soriano
A chemistry professor who enjoys reading and writing poetry.
[July 2002]
[email protected]
A Monument To Time And Stonehenge (Poetry) A collection of verse. [1501 words] [Mystery]
Altered State (Poetry) A poem about being in a coma. [37 words] [Mystical]
American Revolution (Poetry) A poem about the 1960s era. [100 words] [History]
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The Immigrant Story
David Soriano

"The Immigrant Story"

by David Soriano

I hadn't hear the song in a few years- the lyrics stayed in my mind afterwords:

Ah, Ah, We come from the land of the ice and snow
From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.

Much of Norway is , indeed, a land of snow and ice. The largest glacier in Europe, Jostedalsbreen, exists in Norway- a land of harsh winds and midnight sun. Of course, Norway does not have a monopoly on the midnight sun. Northern Sweden, in the area above the Arctic Circle, sees a never-setting sun from May to mid- July. Their "Thule", Iceland , with its seemingly endless, bright summer nights, was a source of songs about the light of summer and the darkness of the long winters. In January, the Icelanders will experience six hours of light. For the duration of the summer nights season, the sun and sea display magnificent patterns of motion and color. The longest night, July 24th, sees some naked people bathing in the morning dew. The cows can speak, magical stones can be found. The Arctic island of Grimsey offers the best view of the midnight sun.
     Some of their descendants, scientists, now work on the isolation of thermophilic microorganisms in the hot springs .The production of thermostable enzymes, to be used in high temperature industrial processes, is now the goal of some of their research.

The hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new lands,

The Icelandic gods were of two main tribes: the Aesir and the Vanir. The currently revived Icelandic religion of Asatru , meaning Aesir faith, is based on the better known and handed- down understanding of the former tribe. They were the last Europeans to convert, now to become the first to return to the pagan roots. The light and dark elves, the giants and trolls, Sutur and his fire-giants, the traitors and cowards in Hel, are all part of the ancient belief system. The ancient gods live on in Asgard and travel between our world , and theirs, on Bifrost, the rainbow bridge. The hammer (Mjolnir) of the gods is in the hands of Thor, god of thunder- the mightiest of them all. "Thor: give us strength on the battlefield and in the bridle bed!" was the common cry.
   The sleek, speedy warship , the drekar, carried the troops. They crossed the oceans , under sail, and then switched to the oars for lightning- fast offensive movements. The knarr carried cargo,for trading, and supplies and rations. The seaworthiness of the ships was in the proof of the planking- derived from the sacred oaks and fashioned by axe.
   The new land was Eire , which they reached in 795. The mixed race the Gaedhil-Gall, the red-haired, blue-eyed half-Norse, half-Irish were excellent and fearless fighters. The density of Viking settlement remnants far exceeds that of any non-Scandinavian country. From here, the Irish diaspora lead to Iceland- the settlers being mainly the Gaedhil- Gall. The Irish monk , Dicuil, was the first to describe the "frozen" sea of Thule. Later settlement was precipitated by the internal struggles in Norway between King Harald and the former rulers. From the Scottish Isles and Britain, to Iceland, they fled.

To fight the horde, singing and crying : Valhalla, I am coming!

Desecration of Christian sanctuaries? Trampling of the sacred relics and wanton slaughter of innocent women and children? Yes, on both counts. The horde, under King Alfred the Great, stopped them at Wessex. Baptism was their fate. They learned that their elves had remained neutral in battle between the Devil and heaven. Before the appearance of man, they had been cast unto the Earth- spirits without a body. They could do good and evil - both to the extreme. They had been with the Vikings since the beginning. They were with them on the ships -along with the Draugr (ghosts). Valhalla, the heaven for slain warriors; Hel the fate of the cowards and traitors.

On we sweep with thrashing oar, our only goal will be the western shore.

The drekers pushed onward, Njord (god of the sea) driving their sails westward; runic songs, written by the skald (poet), offered up to Heimdallur. A steering oar - steerboard- was used to steer the ships. It was fastened to the right side of the ship toward the back. When possible, the Vikings would sail within sight of land and, if possible, sleep ashore at night in tents made of skin. At sea, they ate salted fish or meat, with "ol" (ale) in skin bags. The animal head wood carving , snake or dragon, was put up within sight of land; at sea, it was taken down. Voyages westward only in the spring. The sun-shadow board used for navigation.

How soft your fields of green , can whisper tales of gore.
Of how we calmed the tides of war. We are your overlords.

In the year 1000, the Irish King Brian Boru, drove all the Vikings from Eire- he was now king of all the domain. The Viking plundering continued, however, in other lands- Nantes to Lisbon and Seville to the African continent. Portugal and France were not immune to their advances. However, the picture of total destruction may not be the complete truth. The Vikings were also international traders. Within a few generations, they had abandoned the native religion and integrated into the Christian communities. The Middleton Cross remains as witness to these changes.

So you'd better stop and rebuild all your ruins ,
For piece and trust can win the day despite all your losing.

The Round Towers in Norfolk remind us of the Viking absorption into the local cultures. The scalloped capitals and style of moulding is reminiscent of Norman influence. They serve to remind us that chaos , plunder, mayhem ,etc. were -in time- replaced with renewal and change in language, art , attitude and spiritual beliefs.

Heilsa !- to the Led Zeppelin



"Rebuild all your runes." -- COra.


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© 2002 David Soriano
July 2002

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