A Dream of Distant Shores by Alicia Doyle

In October I participated in another of NYC Midnight’s writing competitions. The challenge was to write a rhyming short story, of no longer than 650 words. My genre was historical fiction. I had to include the feeling “inspired” and the word “trust”.

I am excited to share my rhyming short story, “A Dream of Distant Shores” that placed 2nd in the first round for my group! I will be participating in the second round this weekend!

Without further ado, I proudly present:

A Dream of Distant Shores

I’ll tell you a tale of our history, Child,

A journey of hope, of adventure inspired.

How trusting the Gods to show us the way

Led to this place we call home today.

The land became weary as our settlement grew,

And my father was restless, like somehow, he knew

Our time in our village must come to an end.

As the harvests grew smaller, he spoke to a friend,

“There’s a land that I’ve dreamed of, upon distant shores,

When I sleep, I have dreams of waves carved by our oars,

I see lands green with plenty where our farmsteads would thrive.

Our families could build and not fight to survive.”

“Do the Gods send me visions?”  His voice was a plea,

“Or does Loki the trickster attempt to deceive?”

“Seek the Seer for wisdom,” his friend said with a sigh

“Let the bones give your answer, trust the Gods’ own reply.”

Later that evening, once all had been fed,

The days chores were done, and we readied for bed,

Father sat by the fire,  we all gathered close,

Unprepared for the words our father then spoke,

“When the Gods took your mother, my heart broke and bled,

I had thought they’d abandoned our family,” He said,

 “But of late I have visions, of lands far away,

where a fresh start and future for all of us lay.”

His words were inspired,  his hopefulness clear.

We trusted our Father, the Gods, and the Seer.

We agreed we would follow, wherever he went.

With his love and affection, to bed we were sent.

Days grew shorter, we planned, and we prepped,

Our neighbours asked questions, no secrets were kept.

Father told of his visions, inspired by the Gods.

Many thought he was crazy; others welcomed the odds.

Others whose struggles became harder to bear,

with fewer and fewer resources to spare,

Led by my father,  petitioned our chief,

“Jarl, people are starving, we need some relief.”

So, the Jarl asked the seer for her godly advice,

“A ritual blot; give the Gods sacrifice.”

Offerings were gathered, the rite well prepared,

We slaughtered the livestock that couldn’t be spared.

The Gods did not answer, not as we had hoped,

Still Father’s visions helped us to cope,

Winter was cruel, many didn’t survive

Father’s inspiring words are what kept us alive,

The fjord started melting, the snow disappeared.

So, my father sought counsel again from the Seer.

“I want to sail westward, to take to the sea,

Do I have Njord’s blessing? Tell me, what do you see?

The seer gave her answer, the bones’ message was clear,

“The Gods, they are with you, it’s their voices you hear.

Your visions speak truly, your future awaits.

Distant lands hold your destiny, don’t hesitate.”

Nine families, nine longships, prepared to depart,

Risking all for a future, a promised new start.

With my father and siblings, we started to row,

‘Til a warm breeze took over by starting to blow,

Toward sunsets and by twinkling stars we did sail,

Sea spray in our face, and strong wind at our tail,

Home far behind us, horizon ahead,

We clung onto hope and ignored any dread

For days on the ocean, we voyaged along

Passing time telling stories and singing old songs

At long last, when finally, land reappeared

All nine longships rejoiced, both with joy and with tears.

You see child, we trusted and followed our dreams

Inspired by the Gods, to this land lush and green.

So, if ever they whisper, open your heart,

Trust yourself, be inspired, never fear a fresh start.

Thanks for reading!

Published by ATL Doyle

I am an aspiring author, military wife, and mother of four boys. In my free time, I am a voracious reader and lover of large cups of tea. While I enjoy reading everything, my favorite genre is fantasy. One of my hobbies is reading and reviewing books on various online platforms. I have dabbled in short stories and writing poetry, publishing a small book of my poems in 2022, with an independent publisher. I enjoy keeping the world up-to-date on her writing, reading, and random thoughts on my blog.I am also currently writing my first novel.

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