Poeming Kristin Lavransdatter
Hello, Poetry Friend
Welcome back to my occasional series, sharing poems inspired by reading and rereading Sigrid Undset’s Kristin Lavransdatter.
One character I have not poemed about before is Arne, Kristin’s first love. She’s too young to realizes she loves him, and he is old enough to know he definitely loves her. After chapter 7, we think Arne is gone forever, but he reappears in the second book, when Kristin does the one thing she dare not confess.
In relistening to these chapters, I recognized something I hadn’t before — a repeated emphasis on the color red, which is appropriate for Arne in a myriad of ways.
One conviction I hold strongly about this book is that Kristin marries the right person. If she had married Arne or Simon, she would not become the woman she does, and she would not be capable of the act of heroism she performs at the end of the saga.
But on a long winter evening, I would like to read a cozy romance in which Kristin and Arne, her best friend, live a simple life together — poor, but happy.
The farm boy with the red shirt watches
her horse, forms for her
a sewing chest. His red back,
hot with flame.
So many mountains between him
He lays his head in her lap, opens
a dark door. She shuts it,
waves goodbye. He turns –
a red speck.
– Megan Willome
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