Kenzington Rhunestone

 

The year Thirteen Fifty Four.
The rumors from our colony were dark
For Vinland was so far away
And it was said
Many had lost their faith
And left
To travel into other lands
Not authorized by King Eriksson
The ruler Magnus of all
Viking Clans

So I am Paul Knutson
And I am Law officer
By decree
And I shall gather forty men
To sail our longboat
To see
And right any wrongs
In colony lands

Follow my notes
For I have left
A permanent trail

Ave Maria

It took a year to find those forty men
The right kind
Willing to leave home
To travel long and far
And do whatever it takes
In unknown lands
Where danger lurks

I gathered them from the kingdom
Half were Geats from greater Sweden
Half were Norsk from Norway.
All stout Vikings
Wherever from

Ave Maria

It took another year
To build
And outfit
The boat.

Thirteen Fifty Six it was
When we set sail
West
Over the angry Atlantic sea
Following the stars by night
Following the water compass by day
To Vinland

The sea was harsh
The journey long
Through storms and fright
We did our best

Ave Maria

The colony was in bad shape
From
Crop failure
Disease
Dissention

They were glad for our arrival
And supplies
It was a pleasant surprise

I chiseled a rune
In commemoration
It was
Thirteen Fifty Seven
They treated us like heroes
A gift from heaven

We learned of a splinter group
Who lost their faith
Took up with foreign travelers
Strangers
Strange red men
Who came in small bark boats
With stories of a lusher land
And some were beguiled
Dismissed our leaders out of hand
And sailed west with them
Reconciled

We stayed with our colony
For nearly two years.
Helping them
To regain their strength again
Restoring their health
Building better structures
Planting stronger crops

We left in tears
The year
Thirteen Fifty Nine

For then
We headed west
Seeking
Those who disobeyed the law
Forsaking their birth
Faith
And
Friends

We swore that we would
Follow them
To the ends
Of the earth

We followed their trail

By and by
We came upon a large bay
Later known as Hudson Bay
Following South
along the shoreline
For months
Exploring
Until we reached a river mouth
Where we found signs
Some say made by Leif Ericson
Of our party
At a confluence later named for Nelson

By then it was Thirteen Sixty

We made camp to gather supplies
And communicate with the local tribes
Using hand signs, words, and grunts
But time slipped by
By months
As some got sick
But finally all recovered
Though time had gone by quick
It was late summer of Sixty one
I chiseled a rune for the record
A history for future scribes
Then said our goodbyes

Ave Maria

Then I left ten men at the longboat
Taking off in canoes
With native guides
Following the river South
Across vast lands
And forest stands
To a lake the Indians called
Winnepeg
And the people there
Recalled an earlier group
Along a similar leg
Of the journey
Who looked just like us
Besides

They pointed out a river
Called the Red
That flows North
So we set forth
Paddling upstream
To a place
With a gap
It would seem
That goes to a river
Heading South

It was evident
That’s where our colonists went

It was there
On that river
Where we found them
It seems like
It took
forever

Of note
We were fourteen days
Journey
From our longboat.

Ave Maria

About thirty had settled
Mingled
Among the Mandans

Converted
To their ways and customs
Everyone

They greeted us with friendship
In this place
Later named Kensington.

I tried
I tried to convince them
The errors of their ways
To bring them back to Vinland
As the King required

But nobody obeys

Instead
They convinced me

It was better here

The land was better here
There were friendly people here
The weather was better here.
It was plain to see.

Some had taken tribal wives
They enjoyed their lives
And the opportunity

I was swayed
And I stayed
In a separate Viking camp
Too long

It was Thirteen Sixty Two
What was I to do?
I was likely long forgotten

Gone too long
Too long

I sent word back for the others to wait

Suddenly
Things changed
Another tribe came in
Who hadn’t been there before

There was war

One day
I had taken half my group away
A days journey
Fishing

Evil actions were at play

When we returned
We found
Bloody death
The camp was burned
10 bodies
Killed and mutilated

And what was harder to believe
The Mandan village
Gone

Time to leave

Ave Maria

I found a stone
Chiseled a message
For others to find
Dated Thirteen Sixty Two
And left it behind

We made it back
After losses and hardships
Never to see that land again

Returned to Sweden
With only
Eight men

But that Runestone in Kensington
Became famous
A record of Viking presence
A record for everyone

Ave Maria

Author Notes:

This is a fictional characterization of what might have happened. Nobody knows for sure, and there is controversy over the authenticity of the Kensington Rune Stone that was found buried under the roots of a birch tree on the farm of a Swedish farmer in Northern Minnesota in 1898. Many believe that it is proof that the Vikings were in Minnesota from a Greenland (Vinland) colony prior to Columbus’ discovery of America.

The Runestone is on display in a Museun in Alexandria, Minnesota. It has carvings on it known as ancient runes, in Old Norse script. The text translated reads:
“Eight Geats (Swedes) and twenty-two Norwegians on an exploration journey from Vinland to the west. We had camp by two skerries one day’s journey north from this stone. We were [out] to fish one day. After we came home [we] found ten men red of blood and dead. AVM (Ave Virgen Maria) save [us] from evil.”
“[We] have ten men by the sea to look after our ships, fourteen days’ travel from this island. [In the] year 1362.”

In 1354, King Magnus Eriksson of Sweden and Norway had issued a letter appointing a law officer named Paul Knutsson as leader of an expedition to the colony of Greenland, to investigate reports that the population was turning away from Christian culture. There is no firm evidence that the expedition ever took place. In a letter by Gerardus Mercator to John Dee, dated 1577, Mercator refers to one Jacob Cnoyen, who had learned that eight men returned to Norway from an expedition to the Arctic islands in 1364. One of the men, a priest, provided the King of Norway with a great deal of geographical information.
A possible route of such an expedition connecting Hudson Bay with Kensington would lead up either Nelson River or Hayes River, through Lake Winnipeg, then up the Red River of the North. The northern waterway begins at Traverse Gap, on the other side of which is the source of the Minnesota River, flowing to join the great Mississippi River at Saint Paul/Minneapolis. This route was examined by Flom (1910), who found that explorers and traders had come from Hudson Bay to Minnesota by this route decades before the area was officially settled.
I included a reference to the Mandans in the poem. The Mandans were a curious tribe that live in Upper Michigan. They were unusual for having blond hair and blue eyes. In the poem I have them intermarried, then suddenly disappear, due to other tribal incursions. Hjalmar Holand adduced the “blond” Indians among the Mandan on the Upper Missouri River as possible descendants of the Swedish explorers.
Source: Wikipedia

The Picture is from Yahoo images.

Synergy of Poetry and Verse. Author, Poet, Photographer

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