Have you ever come across something that startled you by it's unlikely connection to your life? As I was preparing this past summer for the upcoming school year, I read a poem from an entirely different time and place. It felt as if the poet who wrote it all those years ago had written it just for me. I found it in the introduction to the first unit of English Literature. It is an old Anglo-Saxon poem whose author is unknown. Within its simple ten lines, a wonderful story of sacrificial love is told.
Dear to the Frisian (Jute) wife is the one
whom she welcomes,
When the vessel reaches the haven -- his ship
is at hand,
Her lord is come to his home, he who provid-
eth for her,
And she summons him in; she washes his
And giveth him raiment new. Full pleasant
is it for him
Whose beloved wife waiteth for him ashore.
So beautiful! For a wife whose husband is often away from home, a poem that tells of a husband's homecoming and a wife's welcome is a poem with much meaning. I just never expected to find such a poem in the Anglo-Saxon section of a high school literature book!