Stephan Stephansson (1853 - 1927 / Iceland)
It was formerly believed, on a sea-battered shore
though the storm at home blasted,
that in the distant west there still lay lands,
where calm and sun never ended,
for there the good season had found it's retreat
and freedom and compassion - all that is best.
They set no sail, but thought high,
by the ocean they dreaming stood,
as the sun slid into the lowest west
in the evening's blue-misted spring dusk,
then hope and desire glide out with the breeze
on the still-blank, sun gilt, wide armed sea.
Though oceans still flood, that separate lands,
the passage across is effortless.
And our Markland, Canada, its genius and care
the world held out to you over the sea.
To the Greeks you could only appear in a poem -
but to Icelandic sea kings you gave yourself first.
Still human hope turns its tired eyes
from the east, to dream about you -
you proved good to all, who loved you fervently,
who possess here rapture and home.
And all with you is fullfilled and able to root
which the unquiet spirit has dreamed best.
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