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Humor Historical poetry poem

The Ballad of Eric Bloodaxe

By Andrew Shaffer
Mar 25, 2020 · 146 words · 1 minute

This figure I’ve recived directly from Iceland. It’s begin of my scandinavian studies.

Photo by Dzianís Sukhaváraŭ via Unsplash.

Eric Bloodaxe was a tenth century Norwegian ruler.

His given surname was Haraldsson, 

but everybody called him “Eric Bloodaxe”

because it sounded cool as hell

and also he loved to hack people to bits.

He murdered his half-brothers,

and for a while he tried out the nickname

“Eric the Killer of Brothers.”

This second sobriquet never really caught on

and anyway, he probably found it limiting

because did he not use his axe to slay

sisters, fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters, too?

Which makes me wonder if he didn’t feel a little constrained by the whole “Bloodaxe” thing as well.

Sure, he liked to lop off heads with one smooth, practiced swing

but I imagine him picking up a dagger from time to time

and, like a poet reading prose, 

his mind going dizzy with the myriad possibilities, 

wondering, What if…?