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Ivar the Boneless

Ivar the Boneless

When the Vikings arrived on the northeast coast of Britain in the late 8th C my family pretty much disappeared. What do you expect from visitors called Ivar the Boneless anyway.

The thing about the Danes is that they were restless. They’d come, pillage, leave, wait awhile and then come back again. It must have been unsettling for the locals. Northumbria could not have been a happy place to live.

When the dust settled our kin were gone. They’d been replaced by Rowlandsons.

I am one of many Johns in that lineage. And while it is a slim connection my imagined experience with Viking invaders is resonant: though I do not support their ritual of roasting vanquished enemies on a spit, I do enjoy living near the sea. Similarly, I’ve never left my hair unwashed to grieve the death of a relative, and do enjoy a sauna.

That’s the catch basin that hangs from my lifelong sluice. The letters, words and images that get trapped? They’re yours.

JR

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