“And Egil was the sharp-toothed sea all luck was lost in”

The last line of this poem just did me in. I honestly cannot believe I’m going to be published along side these people. It’s not that I don’t like my story–recording it with the Butcher’s friend as a sound engineer and an audience just reminded me how much I do like it. But damn, some of the stuff in qarrtsiluni is not just good, it’s good.

This poem is good. The Egil under discussion is Egill Skallagrimsson, who was an ugly Viking berserker poet (the berserker part making him a shape-shifter) who ran around laying curses on kings and queens. He and other men in his family would fly into great and murderous rages during the day, but become very quiet and sullen in the evenings.  And, as we’ve talked about here before, he lost his son to the sea.

It’s that fact that makes the last line resonate so deeply for me. That word, luck, in Egil’s context, is so loaded with “weird” and “orlog” connotations. (In fact, trying to explain “weird” and “orlog,” maybe the easiest way is to just say it’s like “luck” and “fate.” They kind of seem like opposites until you look at them too closely.). Couple that with the intense importance of one’s family and one’s family being the continuation of your luck…

I’m just saying, there’s a lot in that last line about Egil’s grief for his son without overstating it.