A Mother Worries - Poem by Sheena Blackhall
It's Saturday, near midnight
You've been a month in Norway,
A country eaten by fjords with wolvine teeth.
Have you found a decent room?
Is there a laundrette near?
You'll enter a bar alone
They'll think you're Georgian.
Beer there costs an arm and a leg
Winter's long and dark as a bear's mouth.
You'll order a gin and tonic
You'll try English, Scots, a smattering of Thai.
The bar tender will reply in Bokmal or Nyorsk.
You've crossed the sea like a bird
To King Harald's kingdom of fish, forests and oil
This is your feeding ground now.
Their currency's the krone. It won't stretch far.
Never forget that these are a Viking people.
Who are their heroes? Ibsen, Edvard Munch,
Visionaries of illness, madness and death
Always making a saga out of a sigh
Though you will not be troubled by vampires,
Elk and deer may commandeer the highway
Regardless of traffic signs
Elk are active during a full moon,
And after a heavy snow fall.
If you upset an elk, you should contact
A Sami shaman, who will sing a joik
To sooth the ruffled feelings of the animal.
Hardanger fiddles are topped
With the carved heads of beasts.
Their music is heavily polyphonic
Will you dance to their tune?
What will they change in you? A mother worries.
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