Copper Kettle - Poem by David McLansky
The Vikings came to rape and pillage
And killed my Liam strapped to his tillage;
They took my Meg before my eyes,
And laughed at all her mother's cries.
I begged them not to kill my son,
My little babe, my precious one;
But they hewed him with their heavy swords
And smeared his gore on broken boards.
What rich rewards, a copper kettle,
Af chance to show their Viking mettle;
A hut of mud and woven wattle,
A sod stained farmer, a broken bottle.
They burned our hut and cooked the goat,
The shoved us to their dragon boat;
I watched the smoke rise in the bay
As busily we rowed away.
Now they sail the distant coast,
These ruthless men of deed and boast;
They take me and my frightened child
When they're drunk and roaring wild.
I light the fire when we land and settle
And boil their oats in my own kettle;
Megan died bruised in my arms
Despite my ken of spells and charms.
They tossed Meg's body overboard
Long way out from foggy shore;
I lived a ghost of cold and ice;
They fished me from the water twice.
I cook and mend now in their village,
A slave sold as a share of pillage;
I feed his babe, Black Jorgenson,
The tender man who killed my son.
Why I live, I know not why,
Half-dead with sorrow, too tired to cry;
A habit left to gasp and breathe,
To wipe his nose upon my sleeve?
They laugh and tease before the hearth,
They feast and joke, weave woolen scarves;
A family warm and safe with cheer
While from my kettle they drink my beer.
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