The Alaskan Poet leaves for a reunion, a true Viking in 1965 at CDA he also holds that cherished honorary membership of a Viking of PHS Class of 1965. Reunions can mean a lot of different things to graduates years after the notes have faded. To those of the class of 65, what a tidal wave of change was heading to us like a 9 Richter spawned tsunami. Fortunately, the waves receded and most of our class survived and prospered. If you are celebrating a 45th, hope you enjoy the poem even if not a Viking. Petersburg is a special place--a definite Bucket List to see---coming through Wrangell Narrows with the Devil's Thumb on the port and off in the distance, Le Conte's receding face and the beckoning of Frederick Sound, more so for the people that dwell there than the sights. Hail Vikings!
We have all marched the Pomp and Circumstances trail
Tassels now turned, we all knew we would not fail
Each class knows that it alone is unique
Fame and fortune waiting for it to seek.
But in one year the sands were shifting in flooding tide
Taking all of us for at least a wild decade ride.
The Viking ships of old battled only currents and unknown fears
Sheltered by compass, strong arm, axe, sword and spear.
These later Vikings faced a chasm cultural shift,
All icons parted and were now in constant swirling drift.
Constant here to set the salmon net, haul in the halibut hook, fell the tree
Lower down, all was moving, compass shorn, tidal waves from an Asian sea.
Radar blips most likely false on a ship of Joy
Soon a generation offered to Mars to maim and destroy
Be you of the class of 65 or 70 when the end was almost near,
Our time was a far different chaotic set of years
The jungle claimed our bodies, the music changed our souls
The pill released us, but the highs took their toll
A tough time for a nation, a tough time for its youth
Where in shifting sands would one ever find the truth?
Lower away the cities burned, shots heard, flags stomped to the ground
A nation for many years torn apart, in chaos always unbound
Save maybe a few places where images of longboats never did fade
And to a neighbor on an island so easy to help or aid
Lots of fads, lots of a craze here and now and then past
In a Viking lore what might always last?
It’s not the car, not the job or anything else on short term lease,
Or any other pleasures we seek for short term release
No, it is the Viking creed spawned within on these island shores
That has lifted these classes to exceed, to always soar.
Judge not by race, color, creed, career, or looks
Rather how well a choker is set, web mended or a baited halibut hook
And the fact that one’s word is a Polaris in the cold arctic night
Count on me; I am here; I will always make it right.
For some so lucky the warm summer rays are just now beginning to fade
For others, the leaves are now turning color to fall, never to shade
Lastly, some of us feel the first hint of snow;
Fire waiting as we now reflect on what we did sow
But common to all as we move upon this life’s journey trail
Heads high, toasts through the mist, hail Vikings hail, hail Vikings hail.
© June 24, 2010 Michael P. Ridley