Letter to a friend and wife in Oslo who wrote to us in rhyme.
Our Dear Friends
With great delight I start to write
(How better could I pass a night)
And take my pen in cosy den
Fast shut from Winter’s shivering ken
My sole desire beside the fire
Close by me all I might require.
My laggard mind has words to find
And in the spell of ink to bind
Then sealed and true, across the blue
I send my captured thoughts to you
Soviq – Sigurd – what magic heard
What dreams of Norsemen in the word
What visions limm of Vikings grim.
What ancient tales of romance brim
What childhood thrill is with us still
What mighty feats of warlike skill
They held in thrall the Celt, the Gaul
They were the scourges of them all
And long ago the Viking prow
Filled all the coasts with fear and woe.
Now what remains but just the names
To fit our pictures into frames
A memory stored in Fell and Fiord
And Thwaite and Solviq and Sigurd!
You have the skill you have the will
You have the Viking spirit still
Your ships still rove by creek or cove
The sea is still your greatest love
How happy we who feel to be still
Part of that great family
And one dark year a message clear
(flashed round your land)
‘THE NAVY’S HERE!’
Although so far away you are
Our deepest thoughts we still can share
And should you be in our country
Then what a merry company!
The Winters Tale would never stale
Nor burden us the icy gale
Perhaps within an English Inn
Our understandings could begin.
A lighter vein would be our strain
And perfect accord our refrain
While English ale could scarcely fail
To send us stumbling down the scale
Then home we’d wend with wavering trend
Discussing how to make amend
To wives who wait in furious state
Our very hearts to devastate
How much more wise to harmonise
Beneath those wives’ approving eyes
And when we’ve nursed our precious thirst
To quench with coffee at the worst –
How happy then in sober den
To be acclaimed quite perfect men.
That could not be, for such as we
are weaker far than wives could be.
So now I may close down my lay,
And write you in the normal way
The strain is hard to be a bard
Solviq, good-day, Good day,Siqurd Margaret and Charles. March 1955