House Upon the Hill

By:  Elijah Thiess

Poetry, 2017


If you listen to my song
you’ll hear a tale not told before…
of a Viking lad, his mighty ship,
and the lass that he adored.
My tale begins on the far outskirts
of a little harbor village.
The frost had thawed and all the ships
had gone away to pillage.
He stood alone upon the cliff,
as the waves broke down below.
The mountain streams were swollen then
from all the melted snow.
His pride and joy, his little ship,
sat bobbing in the bay.
By this time tomorrow
he’d be many leagues away.
Then to a house down by the docks,
did our young Viking go.
Odin’s sky was filled with red
as the golden sun sank low.
The one who stood before him
was not the girl he’d always known.
She was strong and graceful,
since she had come into her own.
He had to stop and catch his breath
as he looked into her eyes.
He didn’t know what she would say
but still he had to try.
“When I return from selling furs
in the towns across the sea,
I’ll build a house upon that hill
if you will marry me.”
She hugged his neck and said,
“Of course. You know I will…
and I can’t wait to live with you
in our house, upon that hill.”
He let her go, turned his back,
and headed for his boat.
He tried to say goodbye
but gravel filled his throat.
Back on his ship, he released the rope
that held him to his home.
Wind filled his sails and off he went
in a trail of icy foam.
He surveyed the sea ahead
with the rudder in his hand.
He’d been gone for six days now
and just caught sight of land.
He ran his boat up on the beach
and dropped down to the sand.
That night he left for home
with a gold pouch in his hand.
An icy blast hit his neck
and stood up every hair.
The sky went black and he could smell
the trouble in the air.
A storm rose up, waves rocked his boat,
and it began to flip.
The rain came down and soaked him through
as water filled his ship.
Fate left to him two options now…
he could swim or he could die.
He grabbed his pouch and held it tight
as he struggled for his life.
He finally closed his eyes
as he drifted in the sea.
He’d given everything he had,
now he could hear the Valkyrie.
Then he thought of who he had
waiting back at home.
He would not abandon her
to walk her life alone.
Valhalla left his mind
and the Valkyrie’s call as well.
He fought the waves that pulled him down
as the sea began to swell.
With arms and legs frozen through
He made it all the way.
He lay there on the sand
and looked back at the waves.
Both sea and storm had tried to make
For him a salty grave.
But such a fate was not to be
For one who was so brave.
The Bards all sang about his feat.
No wind or wave could break his will,
while he and his wife lived out their days
in their house up on the hill.