The Default Position

They found you beside
the garrison’s charred remains.
Seated, head on shield
in your wood lined tomb
waiting for Odin’s call.
With your stallion and mare,
bridled and reined for battle –
the battle to end all battles –
Ragnarok – the World’s end.

More than a milenium you waited
until disturbed.
Your bones labelled
by the scholarly men who found you.
There is your sword, battle fatigued,
Spears and hand axe,
arrows and knife, all primed.
Ready to feed the beasts of war.

Those Victorian men
remade you in their image,
their World view.
When war was everyone’s business,
but always men’s work.
Sagas and runes extol your deeds –
stories retold round longhouse fires.
You were their archetypal Viking,
a battle scarred warrior.
Mead drinking Norseman.
Raper and pillager.

Now is a different World.
Feminism changed our lives,
deconstructed established myths.
Forensics refute historic claims.
You, a cavalry commander,
campaign strategist,
Viking warrior
are a woman – the woman –
chosen by the Valkyrie
to lead your warriors into Valhalla.

Cate Anderson