A Journey to the Epic
A troop of men with tangled hair and beard
Pound the rock with footsteps heavy and driving
Up this mountainside, impervious to wind and ice.
Harsh breath melts the stillness and rivulets form,
Leading from the beaten tracks of the warriors.
Axes held in hand, gripped and raised to this mountain,
To the stunted trees and winged sentinels in the white sky,
Lay no waste to this land. The footsteps desperate race
To reach onward, this one peak amidst all
Covered by snow and wind, standing proud and victorious,
Rising above glacial valleys and wooded lands.
The path to the top is forged by the burly men,
Running along cliff edges and steep mountain arms
Overlooking the view of patient lands below.
Now, clamoring to the peak they reach their destination.
There is voiced full bodied, triumphant yells,
A blend of voices guttural and youthful, a song
Which emanates and fills the crags and valleys.
This song of mountains and men and their place in the sky,
Carries from this moment into eternity.
Their journey to reach the Epic
Is the embodiment of the Epic.
What is the purpose of this journey? What is the purpose of our own journeys? It is not the ultimate end, the goal to be attained; it is the journey itself that serves its own purpose. The journey is not a means to an end, but a means in itself.
The journey of these Vikings serves the same purpose as the poem itself does. The layout of the land in contrast with the utter human qualities of the men is the whole of the poem itself. Reaching the top is not merely the final stop on the run upwards. From here, the journey continues on into song, which reflects back on the journey, the surrounding scenery, and the nature of the men. This results in a complete, harmonious sense of being-in-the-world through poem and song.