About the Author

Garry Thomas Morse

Garry Thomas Morse
Garry Thomas Morse has had two books of poetry published by LINEbooks, Transversals for Orpheus (2006) and Streams (2007), and one collection of fiction, Death in Vancouver (2009) published by Talonbooks. His current book of poetry, After Jack (2010), is also available from Talonbooks. Morse received the 2008 City of Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award for Emerging Artist and has twice been selected as runner-up for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry.

Books by this Author
After Jack

After Jack

edition:Paperback
tagged : canadian
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Death in Vancouver

Death in Vancouver

edition:Paperback
tagged : literary
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Death in Vancouver ebook

Death in Vancouver ebook

edition:eBook
tagged : literary
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Discovery Passages

Discovery Passages

edition:Paperback
tagged : canadian
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Minor Episodes / Major Ruckus

Minor Episodes / Major Ruckus

edition:Paperback
tagged : short stories
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Minor Expectations

Minor Expectations

edition:Book
tagged : literary
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Excerpt

There was a man named Hrafn, son of Ulf the Unpredictable and Freyja the Fiery. Hrafn was a dark and willful man, and in his younger years he put his mind to freebooting and his dark sails became a scourge to stranger and neighbour seafarers alike. Yet no one could have foretold his freebooting days would finish, or that he would return to his estate at Grimfjord with all his wealth and take Unnur to wife. And it was said of Hrafn that he proved a great holder of lands without sly dealings. He oversaw his workers and smiths with gentle laughter, and was not stingy with his wise counsel for those who sought it. Yet in the evening, he grew moody and ill-tempered, and even Unnur took care to step lightly around him. In Grimfjord, it was told of Hrafn that he was strong of shape and shared the changeling ways of his father Ulf, and that while everyone on the estate was sleeping, he enjoyed unspeakable mirth and mischief.

 

 

Hrafn Ulfsson and his wife Unnur had two sons. The elder was named Sindri, and the younger Loki. They were both tall and strong enough, and Sindri was fair in complexion and cheery in manner, not unlike his mother. But Loki was swarthy like his father, with dark and incongruous features. He also displayed a gloomy disposition after dusk. Sindri had been named for his ease of birth, since he brought Unnur little trouble. But his brother brought his mother so much trouble at his time of birth that a lamp was tipped over and a small fire started.

 

"This does not bode well for us," said Unnur.

 

"He may be great as the fire god Loki, who threaten all the gods," offered Hrafn.

 

"Then we should name him Loki," replied Unnur.

 

"I like that idea fine," said Hrafn.

 

Hrafn had a sister named Sigyn who dwelt in a simple home near the cavernous crags of Grimfjord. Most people of the Ulfsson estate regarded her as an eccentric who was more than set in her ways and they took great care to avoid her. Other desperate souls sought her out for cures and curses, since she was rumoured to be a seeress with magical properties. As a boy, Loki enjoyed visiting her and people of the region say she taught him many dark arts. One day they were concentrating over a wooden gameboard when Sigyn tapped him with her long stick.

 

"I have cast your rune," said Sigyn. "Would you like to hear it?"

 

"If something is on your mind, best make it known," answered Loki.

 

Then she spoke a verse:

Son of Hrafn, you are dark indeed
as the shadow of a crashing wave.
Yet take heed! Your namesake is
consuming fire that threatens all.
In the arms of one kind woman
you will find cool still comfort
but beware of the brooch-thief!
She will take far more than this.

 

"Sigyn, how does this feeble verse concern me?" demanded Loki.

 

"I cannot make sense for someone who makes no sense," replied Sigyn.

 

After this incident, Sigyn no longer asked Loki to visit her. She is now out of the saga.

 

The next summer, Loki was tending to some of his father's sheep when he noticed a girl observing him. He made strange faces and voices at her and made her laugh. Her eyes were lively and he chased her in an attempt to touch her. In the end, she swung a water pail at him and a sharp edge scratched his left thigh quite deeply. Blood gushed from the cut and Loki gave up his pursuit. His mother was tending to his wound with a cure she had learned from the seeress when Loki began to make inquiries.

 

"Mother, who is the strange girl gathering water near our sheep?" asked Loki.

 

"Adalbjorg is your foster-sister from a match best forgotten," said Unnur.

 

"A man could do worse than betrothing her," replied Loki.

 

"It will come to trouble, but you never took advice well," retorted Unnur.

 

The next morning, Loki was waiting in the same place when he saw Adalbjorg passing with her bent water pail. Then he spoke this verse:

She cut deep and to the quick
this beautiful bringer of water.
Look at this painful wound
no match for another pain!
I suffer whenever she flees
a fire in my raging blood.
Were I to desire one wife
let her name be Adalbjorg.

 

Then he reached for her and gave her a quick kiss. This time she did not withdraw or hurry away. She did not find Loki as irritating as he was reported to be.

 

That evening, Unnur crept up to Hrafn and told him of Loki's intention to select Adalbjorg for himself.

 

"I do not like it, but that boy is stubborn," said Hrafn.

 

"Some say he takes after his father," answered Unnur.

 

"I'm not keen about asking Atli until we know what kind of man Loki is," offered Hrafn.

 

"Let him travel with his uncle. Then he might forget about this girl," said Unnur.

 

"I don't want to talk about it any longer," said Hrafn.

 

Thororm Ulfsson was planning a voyage to Vinland, since these expeditions were considered a good source of fame and fortune. Hrafn asked that Loki accompany him for the rest of the summer and Thororm agreed, on the condition that his nephew did not slow him down or cause any problems. A ship and crew were prepared and it was not long before they set sail. The journey was relatively easy and nothing else worth telling took place.

 

They were staying a few days in Vinland, in one of Hrafn's established houses, when Loki suggested they go hunting instead of living off their neighbours, who were already starting to tire of them. Thororm thought this a foolhardy idea, since they still had enough preserved candlefish for some time. But Loki kept pestering him, until Thororm thought of a way for them to find some food. Thororm picked up two axes and led Loki to the remotest part of Vinland. They went through the woods and soon saw other inhabitants. Thororm called them Skraelings, because they were dark in colouring and not attractive like his kinsmen in Grimfjord. Loki, who was also considered to be dark and ill-favoured in complexion, did not mind them.

 

As they came closer, they observed a few Skraelings gathering around a whale upon the shore. They were decorating it with some sparse plants and singing in their strange language. Thororm guessed that more of them would be on their way to help with the whale and this was their chance to take the smaller party by surprise.

 

"Hold your axe steady and then swing it deep into his back," advised Thororm.

 

"They live here and this is not a raid by sea," said Loki.

 

"Do what I say and do not cause me more trouble," urged Thororm.

 

"Uncle, you are a fool. There is neither honour nor renown in this action," replied Loki.

 

While his uncle was cursing his name, Loki approached the Skraelings. He was not certain what to say to them, so instead, he decided to recite a drapa. Then he offered them a small quantity of milk and cheese. All of this sat well with the Skraelings, who carved out a generous portion of whale meat and gave it to Loki, along with one of their furs. As he draped it about his shoulders, he noticed a woman staring at him from the edge of the woods. She had dark hair but her skin was lighter than that of the whale-hunters. She stared at him with her bright eyes before departing in haste.

 

Back at their dwelling, they ate whale in silence. But it was not long before Loki asked about the woman near the woods.

 

"She is called Minordis, but you best forget her," said Thororm with renewed glee.

 

"You are done telling me what to do, uncle," retorted Loki.

 

"She has beguiled Cosmak the Crotchety, which is bad luck for you," added Thororm.

 

"Old men do not live forever," laughed Loki.

 

Then he spoke a verse:

Today I tasted mighty whale
without endless bloodshed
and earned this warm fur
curdling wit with words.
No thanks to Thororm
murderer of the herd!
He lacks the strength
to rob my mind of her.

 

Thororm did not speak to him for the remainder of that summer in Vinland.

 

At the time of this saga, Olaf Tryggvessön was ruling Norway. During the journey home, Loki and Thororm came ashore at No-Sleep Sound and found a chance to ingratiate themselves with the king's emissaries, who were trying to convince a stubborn group of landowners to pay a levy and to convert to the new religion. Thororm made a point of visiting each house and telling the inhabitants that if they did not agree to the wishes of Olaf the Fat, they would be fed living snakes and hacked into pieces, and he would do everything he could to help. Fortunately, one of the landowners, Dólgfinnr Ulfsson, was a relation of Loki's, and listened carefully to his advice. Loki pointed out that although it was undesireable to pay a distant monarch for nothing very substantial, the new religion was not going to go away and that it was best to take what new opportunities came to one, instead of being so stubborn as to get everyone killed. Dólgfinnr agreed that he did not wish any harm to come to his sons, nor anyone else in their community. Loki offered to travel with him to visit the king, so that their assent was seen as a tribute and not as a surrender. Dólgfinnr could not find fault with this idea, although Thororm assured him it was bound to go wrong in some way.

 

Then they sailed out to sea, and at last came to Norway. Loki presented Dólgfinnr to the king as a representative of landowners who wished to pay the levy and convert to the new religion. To mark the occasion, he announced that he had composed a mansöngr in the king's honour, which he then read:

Since the handsome lad
was sold for a rich cloak
he has cast such a rune
to amaze even Freja
and needs none of her help
to wed the Swedish queen.
Since the handsome lad
was sold for a rich cloak
out of love, lovely Allogia
has paid his blood-money
and in the worst of clothes
he has won the hand of Gyda.
Since the handsome lad
was sold for a rich cloak
he has pursued Haakon Jarl
into the muck of a pigsty
and won the kingdom
by the head of a swine.
Since the handsome lad
was sold for a rich cloak
he has roused the rebels
at the thing in Trondheim
after they chewed suet
for their lack of prowess.
Since the handsome lad
was sold for a rich cloak
he has been too potent
for Sigrid the Haughty
who torches suitors
just to keep warm.
Since the handsome lad
was sold for a rich cloak
he has cast such a rune
to amaze even Freja
and needs none of her help
to bed the Swedish queen.

 

When Loki had ended his poem, King Olaf burst into laughter. He said that he had received many tributes from court skalds but none of them had made him laugh so heartily. He added that it took great courage for Loki to recite these things to him. Loki said women liked to take their time over things and that before long Sigrid the Haughty was bound to change her mind about converting to the new religion. The king accepted Dólgfinnr and his kin to be converted, and asked the man's two sons to serve him. However, he was unable to convince Loki to commit to the new faith.

 

"Will you not become my warrior skald?" asked Olaf.

 

"I must return to Grimfjord to be married," said Loki.

 

"And will you not take the new ways with you?" pressed the king.

 

"I cannot forsake Odin, who fills my cup with mead," said Loki.

 

"You can still write verses in the new way," suggested Olaf.

 

"I would rather eat snakes and lose my ugly head," replied Loki.

 

"That will not be necessary," decided Olaf.

 

When Loki returned to Grimfjord, there was much talk about his dealings with King Olaf. People spoke with more care about the son of Hrafn and Freyja. What is more, Adalbjorg made it clear that he was less of a nuisance to be around than she had initially suspected. She began to accompany Loki in the evenings for long walks and inevitably, they ended up discussing his promise of betrothal.

 

"You once wanted to take me for your wife," reminded Adalbjorg.

 

"What you say is true and cannot be undone," replied Loki.

 

"And now that you consort with kings?" she asked.

 

Loki answered with this verse:

These lovely fates of fair linen
should not out of dire despair
wring the shiftless promises
of this proud-hearted man.
Kings are fickle as waves
rising and falling in the wind
while my fiery desire rages
for the hand of Adalbjorg.

 

"You speak well but I don't know what to make of you," said Adalbjorg.

 

"No less are you a mystery to me," laughed Loki.

 

Then they both went home.

 

The following spring, several families flocked to Grimfjord for the wedding of Loki and Adalbjorg. The dowry was agreeable to Loki and in good faith, he pledged to her some of his gifts from King Olaf, including gold and jewels and a remarkable brooch which she consented to wear. Everyone was rather merry, except for Loki's uncle, who had remained on bad terms with his nephew since their voyage together. During the festivities, Thororm had too much to drink and made many improper suggestions to Adalbjorg. He insisted it was his right as an elder of Loki to entertain the bride in accordance with an ancient custom. Loki went over to the wall and unhooked a large gleaming axe.

 

"Uncle, you have insulted me for long enough. This is exactly what you are entitled to."

 

Then Loki swung the axe and without another word, Thororm fell. This killing upset all of the guests and divided them between those who favoured Loki and those who had never really cared for his sort. Adalbjorg and her parents were none too pleased by this turn of events. However, everyone agreed that this outcome did not bode well for the happiness of the two in question.

 

"What kind of life are we to have here?" asked Adalbjorg quietly.

 

"A better fate awaits us in Vinland," replied Loki.

 

"I do not expect to find any more joy there," retorted Adalbjorg.

 

"Your outlook does not change the situation," said Loki.

 

Directly after his wedding, Loki set sail for Vinland, accompanied by his wife and two of Dólgfinnr's sons, Fisk and Hogni. The brothers were undecided about the merits of this journey. Fisk was eager to see the new lands he had heard about but Hogni felt there was more glory to be gained in the company of their father and King Olaf. Loki pointed out that their constant bickering made a short voyage seem interminable.

 

Upon arrival, Adalbjorg and the Dólgfinnrson brothers were startled to observe the activity of so many strange people with dark features. They readied their weapons but Loki advised them not to trouble themselves over the Skraelings. They were local inhabitants and there was little to be done about that, either way. Then Cosmak the Crotchety and his wife Minordis appeared with a small group of followers and greeted their party warmly. Loki accepted this show of affability and paid particular attention to Minordis. In her honour, he recited this verse:

Goddess of the frothy horn
many are the raven's lives
before I could wipe away
the memory of those eyes
nor will the wave-gleam
lure me from business
with the bling-coffer.
I am set on Minordis.

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Minor Expectations ebook

Minor Expectations ebook

edition:eBook
tagged : literary
More Info
Excerpt

There was a man named Hrafn, son of Ulf the Unpredictable and Freyja the Fiery. Hrafn was a dark and willful man, and in his younger years he put his mind to freebooting and his dark sails became a scourge to stranger and neighbour seafarers alike. Yet no one could have foretold his freebooting days would finish, or that he would return to his estate at Grimfjord with all his wealth and take Unnur to wife. And it was said of Hrafn that he proved a great holder of lands without sly dealings. He oversaw his workers and smiths with gentle laughter, and was not stingy with his wise counsel for those who sought it. Yet in the evening, he grew moody and ill-tempered, and even Unnur took care to step lightly around him. In Grimfjord, it was told of Hrafn that he was strong of shape and shared the changeling ways of his father Ulf, and that while everyone on the estate was sleeping, he enjoyed unspeakable mirth and mischief.

 

 

Hrafn Ulfsson and his wife Unnur had two sons. The elder was named Sindri, and the younger Loki. They were both tall and strong enough, and Sindri was fair in complexion and cheery in manner, not unlike his mother. But Loki was swarthy like his father, with dark and incongruous features. He also displayed a gloomy disposition after dusk. Sindri had been named for his ease of birth, since he brought Unnur little trouble. But his brother brought his mother so much trouble at his time of birth that a lamp was tipped over and a small fire started.

 

"This does not bode well for us," said Unnur.

 

"He may be great as the fire god Loki, who threaten all the gods," offered Hrafn.

 

"Then we should name him Loki," replied Unnur.

 

"I like that idea fine," said Hrafn.

 

Hrafn had a sister named Sigyn who dwelt in a simple home near the cavernous crags of Grimfjord. Most people of the Ulfsson estate regarded her as an eccentric who was more than set in her ways and they took great care to avoid her. Other desperate souls sought her out for cures and curses, since she was rumoured to be a seeress with magical properties. As a boy, Loki enjoyed visiting her and people of the region say she taught him many dark arts. One day they were concentrating over a wooden gameboard when Sigyn tapped him with her long stick.

 

"I have cast your rune," said Sigyn. "Would you like to hear it?"

 

"If something is on your mind, best make it known," answered Loki.

 

Then she spoke a verse:

Son of Hrafn, you are dark indeed
as the shadow of a crashing wave.
Yet take heed! Your namesake is
consuming fire that threatens all.
In the arms of one kind woman
you will find cool still comfort
but beware of the brooch-thief!
She will take far more than this.

 

"Sigyn, how does this feeble verse concern me?" demanded Loki.

 

"I cannot make sense for someone who makes no sense," replied Sigyn.

 

After this incident, Sigyn no longer asked Loki to visit her. She is now out of the saga.

 

The next summer, Loki was tending to some of his father's sheep when he noticed a girl observing him. He made strange faces and voices at her and made her laugh. Her eyes were lively and he chased her in an attempt to touch her. In the end, she swung a water pail at him and a sharp edge scratched his left thigh quite deeply. Blood gushed from the cut and Loki gave up his pursuit. His mother was tending to his wound with a cure she had learned from the seeress when Loki began to make inquiries.

 

"Mother, who is the strange girl gathering water near our sheep?" asked Loki.

 

"Adalbjorg is your foster-sister from a match best forgotten," said Unnur.

 

"A man could do worse than betrothing her," replied Loki.

 

"It will come to trouble, but you never took advice well," retorted Unnur.

 

The next morning, Loki was waiting in the same place when he saw Adalbjorg passing with her bent water pail. Then he spoke this verse:

She cut deep and to the quick
this beautiful bringer of water.
Look at this painful wound
no match for another pain!
I suffer whenever she flees
a fire in my raging blood.
Were I to desire one wife
let her name be Adalbjorg.

 

Then he reached for her and gave her a quick kiss. This time she did not withdraw or hurry away. She did not find Loki as irritating as he was reported to be.

 

That evening, Unnur crept up to Hrafn and told him of Loki's intention to select Adalbjorg for himself.

 

"I do not like it, but that boy is stubborn," said Hrafn.

 

"Some say he takes after his father," answered Unnur.

 

"I'm not keen about asking Atli until we know what kind of man Loki is," offered Hrafn.

 

"Let him travel with his uncle. Then he might forget about this girl," said Unnur.

 

"I don't want to talk about it any longer," said Hrafn.

 

Thororm Ulfsson was planning a voyage to Vinland, since these expeditions were considered a good source of fame and fortune. Hrafn asked that Loki accompany him for the rest of the summer and Thororm agreed, on the condition that his nephew did not slow him down or cause any problems. A ship and crew were prepared and it was not long before they set sail. The journey was relatively easy and nothing else worth telling took place.

 

They were staying a few days in Vinland, in one of Hrafn's established houses, when Loki suggested they go hunting instead of living off their neighbours, who were already starting to tire of them. Thororm thought this a foolhardy idea, since they still had enough preserved candlefish for some time. But Loki kept pestering him, until Thororm thought of a way for them to find some food. Thororm picked up two axes and led Loki to the remotest part of Vinland. They went through the woods and soon saw other inhabitants. Thororm called them Skraelings, because they were dark in colouring and not attractive like his kinsmen in Grimfjord. Loki, who was also considered to be dark and ill-favoured in complexion, did not mind them.

 

As they came closer, they observed a few Skraelings gathering around a whale upon the shore. They were decorating it with some sparse plants and singing in their strange language. Thororm guessed that more of them would be on their way to help with the whale and this was their chance to take the smaller party by surprise.

 

"Hold your axe steady and then swing it deep into his back," advised Thororm.

 

"They live here and this is not a raid by sea," said Loki.

 

"Do what I say and do not cause me more trouble," urged Thororm.

 

"Uncle, you are a fool. There is neither honour nor renown in this action," replied Loki.

 

While his uncle was cursing his name, Loki approached the Skraelings. He was not certain what to say to them, so instead, he decided to recite a drapa. Then he offered them a small quantity of milk and cheese. All of this sat well with the Skraelings, who carved out a generous portion of whale meat and gave it to Loki, along with one of their furs. As he draped it about his shoulders, he noticed a woman staring at him from the edge of the woods. She had dark hair but her skin was lighter than that of the whale-hunters. She stared at him with her bright eyes before departing in haste.

 

Back at their dwelling, they ate whale in silence. But it was not long before Loki asked about the woman near the woods.

 

"She is called Minordis, but you best forget her," said Thororm with renewed glee.

 

"You are done telling me what to do, uncle," retorted Loki.

 

"She has beguiled Cosmak the Crotchety, which is bad luck for you," added Thororm.

 

"Old men do not live forever," laughed Loki.

 

Then he spoke a verse:

Today I tasted mighty whale
without endless bloodshed
and earned this warm fur
curdling wit with words.
No thanks to Thororm
murderer of the herd!
He lacks the strength
to rob my mind of her.

 

Thororm did not speak to him for the remainder of that summer in Vinland.

 

At the time of this saga, Olaf Tryggvessön was ruling Norway. During the journey home, Loki and Thororm came ashore at No-Sleep Sound and found a chance to ingratiate themselves with the king's emissaries, who were trying to convince a stubborn group of landowners to pay a levy and to convert to the new religion. Thororm made a point of visiting each house and telling the inhabitants that if they did not agree to the wishes of Olaf the Fat, they would be fed living snakes and hacked into pieces, and he would do everything he could to help. Fortunately, one of the landowners, Dólgfinnr Ulfsson, was a relation of Loki's, and listened carefully to his advice. Loki pointed out that although it was undesireable to pay a distant monarch for nothing very substantial, the new religion was not going to go away and that it was best to take what new opportunities came to one, instead of being so stubborn as to get everyone killed. Dólgfinnr agreed that he did not wish any harm to come to his sons, nor anyone else in their community. Loki offered to travel with him to visit the king, so that their assent was seen as a tribute and not as a surrender. Dólgfinnr could not find fault with this idea, although Thororm assured him it was bound to go wrong in some way.

 

Then they sailed out to sea, and at last came to Norway. Loki presented Dólgfinnr to the king as a representative of landowners who wished to pay the levy and convert to the new religion. To mark the occasion, he announced that he had composed a mansöngr in the king's honour, which he then read:

Since the handsome lad
was sold for a rich cloak
he has cast such a rune
to amaze even Freja
and needs none of her help
to wed the Swedish queen.
Since the handsome lad
was sold for a rich cloak
out of love, lovely Allogia
has paid his blood-money
and in the worst of clothes
he has won the hand of Gyda.
Since the handsome lad
was sold for a rich cloak
he has pursued Haakon Jarl
into the muck of a pigsty
and won the kingdom
by the head of a swine.
Since the handsome lad
was sold for a rich cloak
he has roused the rebels
at the thing in Trondheim
after they chewed suet
for their lack of prowess.
Since the handsome lad
was sold for a rich cloak
he has been too potent
for Sigrid the Haughty
who torches suitors
just to keep warm.
Since the handsome lad
was sold for a rich cloak
he has cast such a rune
to amaze even Freja
and needs none of her help
to bed the Swedish queen.

 

When Loki had ended his poem, King Olaf burst into laughter. He said that he had received many tributes from court skalds but none of them had made him laugh so heartily. He added that it took great courage for Loki to recite these things to him. Loki said women liked to take their time over things and that before long Sigrid the Haughty was bound to change her mind about converting to the new religion. The king accepted Dólgfinnr and his kin to be converted, and asked the man's two sons to serve him. However, he was unable to convince Loki to commit to the new faith.

 

"Will you not become my warrior skald?" asked Olaf.

 

"I must return to Grimfjord to be married," said Loki.

 

"And will you not take the new ways with you?" pressed the king.

 

"I cannot forsake Odin, who fills my cup with mead," said Loki.

 

"You can still write verses in the new way," suggested Olaf.

 

"I would rather eat snakes and lose my ugly head," replied Loki.

 

"That will not be necessary," decided Olaf.

 

When Loki returned to Grimfjord, there was much talk about his dealings with King Olaf. People spoke with more care about the son of Hrafn and Freyja. What is more, Adalbjorg made it clear that he was less of a nuisance to be around than she had initially suspected. She began to accompany Loki in the evenings for long walks and inevitably, they ended up discussing his promise of betrothal.

 

"You once wanted to take me for your wife," reminded Adalbjorg.

 

"What you say is true and cannot be undone," replied Loki.

 

"And now that you consort with kings?" she asked.

 

Loki answered with this verse:

These lovely fates of fair linen
should not out of dire despair
wring the shiftless promises
of this proud-hearted man.
Kings are fickle as waves
rising and falling in the wind
while my fiery desire rages
for the hand of Adalbjorg.

 

"You speak well but I don't know what to make of you," said Adalbjorg.

 

"No less are you a mystery to me," laughed Loki.

 

Then they both went home.

 

The following spring, several families flocked to Grimfjord for the wedding of Loki and Adalbjorg. The dowry was agreeable to Loki and in good faith, he pledged to her some of his gifts from King Olaf, including gold and jewels and a remarkable brooch which she consented to wear. Everyone was rather merry, except for Loki's uncle, who had remained on bad terms with his nephew since their voyage together. During the festivities, Thororm had too much to drink and made many improper suggestions to Adalbjorg. He insisted it was his right as an elder of Loki to entertain the bride in accordance with an ancient custom. Loki went over to the wall and unhooked a large gleaming axe.

 

"Uncle, you have insulted me for long enough. This is exactly what you are entitled to."

 

Then Loki swung the axe and without another word, Thororm fell. This killing upset all of the guests and divided them between those who favoured Loki and those who had never really cared for his sort. Adalbjorg and her parents were none too pleased by this turn of events. However, everyone agreed that this outcome did not bode well for the happiness of the two in question.

 

"What kind of life are we to have here?" asked Adalbjorg quietly.

 

"A better fate awaits us in Vinland," replied Loki.

 

"I do not expect to find any more joy there," retorted Adalbjorg.

 

"Your outlook does not change the situation," said Loki.

 

Directly after his wedding, Loki set sail for Vinland, accompanied by his wife and two of Dólgfinnr's sons, Fisk and Hogni. The brothers were undecided about the merits of this journey. Fisk was eager to see the new lands he had heard about but Hogni felt there was more glory to be gained in the company of their father and King Olaf. Loki pointed out that their constant bickering made a short voyage seem interminable.

 

Upon arrival, Adalbjorg and the Dólgfinnrson brothers were startled to observe the activity of so many strange people with dark features. They readied their weapons but Loki advised them not to trouble themselves over the Skraelings. They were local inhabitants and there was little to be done about that, either way. Then Cosmak the Crotchety and his wife Minordis appeared with a small group of followers and greeted their party warmly. Loki accepted this show of affability and paid particular attention to Minordis. In her honour, he recited this verse:

Goddess of the frothy horn
many are the raven's lives
before I could wipe away
the memory of those eyes
nor will the wave-gleam
lure me from business
with the bling-coffer.
I am set on Minordis.

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Safety Sand

Safety Sand

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Streams

Streams

edition:Paperback
tagged : canadian
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Transversals for Orpheus & the untitled 1-13

Transversals for Orpheus & the untitled 1-13

edition:Paperback
tagged : canadian
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Yams do not exist
Excerpt

Amortization of the Amatory

Farinata clung to the darkling plain with all his might. He showed great determination not to be the highest wet point for a sliver of lightning. Supine and stricken with fright, he was amazed not to see a whit of life flash before his eyes. More of a blankety blank. Whatever had happened before his move to the "land of living skies" was incredibly obscure, as was his translation next door to the friendliest province in recent memory. That Latinate name was surely a giveaway that our friend laid claim to a literary bent. Poetic, if you must know. In fact, his fear of a fatal bolt from on high was matched only by a fear that his creative powers would fail him, should he try to recount his life.

To this end, Farinata pictured two pupae that were (securely or precariously) suspended from the top of a fence with a stony finish. Inside, the women were, wriggling with anticipation. Probably a common male fantasy, to bind them in leafy shells like that, hanging from a silken hook.
No, nature abhors nothing. The satin bowerbird spares no other bird when collecting feathers and other blue objects with which to design the entrance to its bower, cleverly designed to dazzle the azure eye of his prospective mate, she who promptly dispatches him for more blue buttons or bottlecaps. The shame arose from the fact there were two of them, dangling from the highest caste of beauties. To the best of his knowledge, Muses were single-spined, or went around in nines. Thus, his personal fortitude, his virtu, was called into question. Might as well cover them from head to heel, and protect himself from himself.

Yet the two ladies gave him pause for thought, wrapped in delicious colours that mimicked the dominant shades of the substrate with an air of Pre-Raphaelite grace. Naturally, there had been other scrapes with capable women (if the odd fumbling and even the odd fumbling of wedlock can be called a scrape), which he had categorized under the rubric of fleshy pursuits. As for the two delicious misses, neither would be caught dead wriggling in a chrysalis. One morning, they had broken free of those chitinous husks and had dried their sopping wings until they were ready to take flight for parts unknown. Poetic usage aside, one Muse was getting on with her decorous life in Queen City. The other, still waving in the foreground, was well on her way to a solid vocation, and had abandoned her former friends (and ours) to the social milieu in which they floundered. There is no need to exaggerate. Just a second ago, she had not actually waved, or for that matter, walked arm in arm with her usual chaperone with their steps keeping in perfect time with one of Schubert's dances (D.783 No. 7). No, she had mouthed a hello meaty enough to feed almost half a Paradiso, were there not the gristle of earthly concerns to clip his wings on the spot. Nor was she lording it over him on a minimalist-chic Scrooser, although that is how he always envisioned her. As for the
friendliness, that was already guaranteed on every provincial license plate.

We need not worry that no one else will turn up. Someone often does. Incidentally, this is known as foreshadowing. While we are here, we might as well appraise his stupefaction. His eyes were screwed up because he had nearly idealized the poor dear out of existence. He clenched his teeth because her bourgeois constraints were quick to cordon off the open manhole he teetered over, namely the Void. Taking into account as many artistic purviews as our budget will allow, we must concede that the Canadian prairie has seldom been expressed as anything more than a
whopping Néant, and that is how Farinata happened upon her. Stuck with the same old representative models, he decided to stand on one leg, lacking the tools to mansplain away the copious amount of desire that had repeatedly tripped him up since reaching the middle of the road of his life. In passing, he lacked enough pluck to suggest that countless exoplanets ultimately had more influence than the perpetual recession that held sway over his most heartfelt inclinations.

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