Scandinavian Picnic at Markerville

The idle burnish of an ancient cowbell grows courage on a barn nail.
The sun, bright as an Icelandic night,
sends a satisfied gleam across the buckboard-wide table
crowded by near empty silver-capped jars: Gran’s jaw-shrinking dills
and vegetable marrow, prunes in sweet profusion, placed around bowls
empty of slaw and chicken.

We set out, refreshed warriors, into the bush
where cocklebur wounds, nettle gangrene fells us,
one by one into a respectable death, worthy of Valhalla.

Resurrected by the evening’s cool peace
we sing in the hayfield, sharing space with the giants of Jötunheim.
This impossible mixing of realms, of dwarf and elf,
possible only under a seafaring sky.

~ Carol L. MacKay

Carol L. MacKay lives in Bawlf, AB. Her poems have appeared in The Fiddlehead, Antigonish Review, Prairie Journal, Lichen and in Threshold: An Anthology of Contemporary Writing from Alberta (U of A Press, 1999). Her poem collection “Othala” was shortlisted for the 2004 CBC Literary Awards. She also writes for children.

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