A Bit of Background to Help with Understanding: 1) Most of the Icelandic sagas deal with medieval times and were retold over the decades before being written down. These tales are of Norwegian kings and real or legendary heroes, both men and women from Iceland and Scandinavia. They were composed in prose, generally by unknown authors. Some took on epic poem proportions. 2) To understand the title, you first must be familiar with the Icelandic naming scheme. Everyone goes by their first name. The last name is based upon the first name of the father. Thus, I am Robert, son of Kenneth. 3) Island is the Icelandic name of the country.
Gullfoss Falls, largest in Europe
(Robert, the son of Kenneth)
Iceland is the land of sagas,
...stories retold over the centuries.
Tales that speak of travesties,
...sorrows, beheadings, murders, and
...yes, even love and hope.
Over a millennium ago
Vikings came first in sorties and then as settlers
...and with them their horses.
These ancestors of Norwegians and Danes
...also brought the reluctant Irish in servitude.
As time and nature forged the mettle of these people,
...the sagas unfolded.
Stories of Eyrbyggja and Ericson
...are known even today by the children.
Woven into these epics
...are the natural and the supernatural,
...including the elves or Hidden People
...who populate the holy places.
Though Christianity conquered centuries ago
...people still speak of pagan times.
Some even see these mystical inhabitants today.
Others say, "It was only imagination."
Perhaps decades ago
...my Irish ancestors made the reluctant journey
...on a small Viking ship to Island.
I do not know.
But today, I make my own,
...somehow drawn to these rocky shores.
My saga is not of death and unhappiness
...but of exploration, both inward and outward.
The arrival is far easier than those of the past,
...a mere few hours from Bean Town.
Looking out, eyes focus on the volcanic landscapes
...seen everywhere within this nation.
Yet, a kaleidoscope of greens overwhelms the senses
...during a summer journey.
Striking blondes of magnificent beauty
...reveal their Scandinavian heritage,
...the men fit to withstand the daily rigors and demands.
Modern designs long ago replaced the sod-roofed homes
...heated not by gas or oil but geothermal energy.
Lutheran churches stand in almost every town,
...though services are sometimes irregular.
The journey transports me
...through fishing villages big and small,
...pass monstrous falls such as Gullfoss and Glymur.
As I speed down the road, I look out onto the fields
...hoping to catch my glimpse of the Hidden People.
Later, a dip in the Blue Lagoon heals the skin
...and soothes that within.
All names do not roll gently off my tongue
...this ancient Nordic language not easy to learn,
...the signs hard to discern.
Geysir, Reykjanes, and Snaefellsnes, once unfamiliar,
...now have meaning to this English ear.
By my feeble syllable or two,
...Icelanders know well of the places I speak.
I marvel at the birds, millions who speckle the shore.
Arctic terns wing their way from frigid Antarctica
...north to summer and mate during the non-setting sun.
Similar mating dances occur nightly
...in the clubs of Reykjavik
...late into the early morning.
Like many journeys before
...this trip turns into my personal saga
...where I discover more about who I am
...and about the people I meet.
Iceland astounds me with her beauty,
...causes me to marvel at her people's tenacity,
...and instills within the desire to return
...to this ever-changing land
...peopled by the seen and the unseen.
When again my feet touch Island’s shores,
...Chapter Two of the Saga of Robert Kennethson
Comments: Obviously, I found Iceland to be fascinating, intriguing, and somewhat mystical. Folklore abounds. Interestingly, one of the holy places is the location where the two continental shelves collide - something the ancients would not have known. Volcanoes and the ocean play crucial roles in the life of this country. The thermal energy from the volcanoes heat and provide hot water for 80% of the homes. The skies are pollution free. What fresh air! I plan to continue the saga soon.