On this day, June the 8th, they came
The date was 793
Every schoolchild knows their name
Blonde invaders from the sea.
In Lindisfarne they put ashore
On distant, windswept coast
They slaughtered all the monks they saw
Shattering Holy Host.
Soon raids were frequent; their long boats
With dragon-headed prow
Brought warriors keen on cutting throats;
Cries of rape and pillage now.
They destroyed but brought their culture too
Their “Jarvik” is now York
Towns with “by” and “ton” accrue
“Geordie” is Danish talk...
A threat for several hundred years
Far from their icy fjords,
Vikings conjured up deep fears
In the homes of Saxon lords.
Scandinavia's prosperous these days
Regulations rule, not raids
But to “go berserk” is still a phrase
That recalls those violent ways.
(c) Poet in the woods 2015