Saturday, 13 May 2017

Viking Footprints

Dear Reader,



                                                                                         Viking Boats

Isn't it strange what fear can do to us?  In our small and pretty garden the pigeons make themselves very at home, thumping heavily onto the flower beds, breaking the plants, pecking greedily at the newly sown grass, and having their bathtime in the water bowl I had bought for the smaller birds to drink out of.  As you have probably gathered, I am not fond of pigeons, so when a friend told me of a large plastic owl for sale that frightened pigeons when placed in a garden, I happily bought one.  The owl is large and stands in the garden looking very fierce, and there is not a pigeon in sight.  But the person whom it really frightens is me.  Every morning, having forgotten that it is there, I see it and my heart starts to overbeat and my hands to sweat.  As soon as I remember what it really is I revert to normal breathing, and my panic is over.

A Professor Steve Peters wrote an interesting book called "The Chimp Paradox", which explains that we have two brains, one the frontal (Human) and the other the limbic (Chimp). The human brain is the one that is rational, reasonable and practical, whilst the Chimp brain runs on emotions.  In fact,  the Chimp is there to protect us from any dangers we might come across, to put us on our guard.

But for some people the Chimp can overdo it, see dangers when they are minimal, and panic us when there is no need.  Unfortunately, I am one of those people and, at the moment, am trying to control the Chimp with positive thoughts.  It seems to be working well,  but if I did see a Viking on a lonely beach I would probably have the fright of my life, regardless. 

                                                                        *

Viking Footsteps

There it is: a windswept empty beach,
great fields of white sand dressed
in drift wood, seaweed, plastic bottles,
flotsam, pebbles, shells, stones, and kelp skeins.
It stretches away to the horizon.

Seagulls, gannets, terns, twist and fly,
make their repetitive cries, peck in the ground.
Small pools of seawater form
as the tide goes out, sea creatures swimming there.

But is that a long boat, red sails fluttering, I see?
And are those uncovered Viking footsteps in the sand?
And do I smell spitted meat, mead and honey
drifting past me on the salt-scented air?

The sand dunes hug their secrets silently,
letting the quiet southerly wind
rustle through the marram grasses.
I ask them, do Viking voices whisper on that wind,
sometimes, on an icy night under a starlit sky?

                                                                           *

With best wishes, Patricia  

PS.  A little more news on the seagull front.  Apparently in Aldburgh, Suffolk, it has been an offence to feed the birds for several years.  Here, if caught, feeding the gulls could cost you thousands of pounds.   But don't worry - I will keep you posted on this matter.                                                          

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A lovely poem that makes me long for the sea - and if I came across a Viking ship there it would be all the more exciting! And perhaps a little terrifying too but it is extraordinary what the imagination can do. Thank you for another fascinating blog post. Xx