THE RUSSIAN VIKING

Great stuff here and fascinating

Zoolon Audio

tree‘My Family Tree’

A few weeks back I got my father, and fellow blogger Mike Steeden a DNA testing kit for his birthday. I thought it would make for an unusual present. He takes a saliva sample and the kit gets sent off to the lab in America, Texas I think, and there they conduct an analysis of his DNA and end up telling him his origins. He’s always presumed he was probably ‘Norman with a hint of Anglo-Saxon’ – his words.  He tells me the results have just come in. How wrong he was. Rounding the numbers up, he’s 75% Northern European; only 15% English and 10% Scandinavian.

So, he’s now proudly claiming that he must be – his words – ‘Viking with a goodly chunk of my beloved Mother Russia’. He’s thrilled about it. He’s got a Cossack hat already so he’s looked the part for ages.

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Poem ‘Weapon Take’

Weapon Take

No rusty blade
ever turns up here,
no shadow of a ship
or bejewelled belt;

no iconic helm
to add credence
to our wounded identity.
Not even signs

of a mystery hillock
rising in hugging mists
to excite or intrigue
those metal detector men.

Merely one vast industrial
scar, scoured of feature,
almost of life, tamed,
or destroyed,

depending on your view,
turned inside out
by Angevin priors
and inscrutable Dutchmen.

I come from a long
line of diggers
and dark-eyed women,
grown out of this morass,

hardened to sweat
and pitiless Ural winds.
People who made-do,
though never in

any doubt they
were the subjected
men of their Hundred,
the brave new Wapentake,

where the councillors
still speak in a
double-Dutch behind
tall, timbered walls.

poem and image © copyright dfbarker 2012
*poem first published in collection ‘Anonymous Lines’, available at amazon.

** Wapentake was the Danish word for the English Hundred (a small, political unit, originally meaning a hundred homes). This word is still used in the ‘Danelaw’ counties of eastern England.

Poem ‘English Blue’

English Blue

Walk with me
into the grey breaking dawn

where that sticking ridge of blue –
an English blue

rolls on into soft distances
and strange dancing names

Stand with me
by those set whispering stones

in a steadfast line –
a sore English line

of rasping pipes and howling socks
mouthing our memory

like a warning to tomorrow
a land forlorn to all but itself

Then help me to bury him
not on some crying strand –

in firm English land
where hallows’ calls are grounded

our grief laid open
in the whitening bones of heroes

on this high scoured hill

*First published in ‘Poetry 24’ June 23 2011 and in the collection ‘Anonymous Lines’ available at amazon.co.uk

poem and image © copyright dfbarker 2012

This was initially inspired by the summer solstice at Stonehenge, the large gatherings there.
Then I thought of all the other generations, what they thought of the standing stones, what they meant to them.
This is also a tribute to pre-Norman England, its freedoms that were lost, so almost takes the form of an elegy to a fallen Old English hero.