Lögberg-Heimskringla - 14.06.1991, Blaðsíða 6

Lögberg-Heimskringla - 14.06.1991, Blaðsíða 6
6 • Lögberg-Heimskringla • Föstudagur 14. júní 1991 K.N. — the Genf e and the Compassionate by Paul A. Sigurdson Several months ago, I published the translation of a short poem which I found unnamed at the very front of K.N.’sbook. Atthattime I mustconfess that I didn’t know it was a fragment of a longer poem. Herewith I offer you the entire poem, with my apologies. K.N. worte it for Rosa’s son-in-law who had pre-deceased her. To Rósa Sigurðardóttir on her 90th Birthday i Perhaps I could, inspired, Make effort here today, Compose a little poem, For him who’s passed away. II I know he would have liked to visit you, Just to remember you this special day, Amid the sweet tranquility of eve, Compose for you a simple loving lay. But none of us can stymie fate’s desire, And so for him I fondly stroke the lyre. This heartfelt wish I offer in his name, And for his wife too lying at his side, That God who made of him a worthy man, With you in strength and peace will ever bide; And may you wait your end with mel- lowed pleasure, For you have strived and tasted well life’s measure. Sodream aboutyourlovelyislandfjord, Your childhood haunts upon the up- land run, For nowhere do the colors of the land Shine fairer in the glory of God’s sun. Where shepherds halloo down the mountain passes, As their sheep gather in the valley grasses. To Rev. K.K. Olafsson Yea, cruel death has thievedyour home, Now weighed with grief and rue; My heart is also sorrow-lade, It reaches out to you. Hands of Mercy When I was bleeding sorely used, Your hands showed mercy’s care; You bound my wound in softest silk, And healed it instant there. May the Redeemer all your days, Assuage each hurt distressing; And heal your every stinging pain, Filling your heart with blessing. '-&■ '-&■ K.N. — the Guest It was a warm sunny aftemoon in May. I was enjoying a cup of coffee at the local café with a few friends when the invasion occurred. A pleasant inva- sion: three Icelandic women from North Dakota, K.N.’s country. As we chatted the talk soon turned to the poet. Eventually I was politely informed that I probably had made a mistake in one of my previous articles. I had stated that the poem “The Birth- day Verse” had been written to my maternal grandmother, Petrina Guðnadóttir, later Mrs. Jon Thorlakson who was brother to the famous Rev. Paul (Páll). The case was convincing, especially when I leamed that the re- cipient of the poem was seated beside me, quietly sipping her coffee as her daughter held court. Now who are these ladies who de- scended upon me to dare to question the mighty writer? Well, here are their names: Petrina Gestson, formerly Johnson, sister of the late Bjorgvin Johnson, barber and painter — and by the way, a very close friend of K.N.; Petrina’s married daughter, Betty Craig, and her first cousin, Norma Nason. Between the mother and daughter team I got the whole story, and I now pass it on to you, bloodied and repent- ant but not unbowed. As you know K.N. was for many years the local gravedigger, and it so happened that the Gestson home was only a stone’s throw away from the cemetery. Often duringhis diggings K.N. would drop in to have a cup of coffee — he loved kaffi and molar — and spend a few minutes chatting with the family. On one of Petrina’s birthdays, K.N. arrived with a poem he had dedicated to her. It was typical of the man to do some small deed to add warmth and beauty in a modest way to any occa- sion. So I had written about the wrong Petra. How did I make the mistake? Well, as I was going through my copy of K.N.’s works I noticed a notation in the margin beside the said poem. It was in my aunt Grace’s handwriting. Oddly enough, Grace had married Petrina Johnson’s brother, whom I mentioned above, had mothered two boys, but then had divorced him. Scandalous in those days, and especially so for aunt Grace because she was by reputation a very devout person. The notation states that K.N. wrote it for her mother, Petra. Why she made this claim I’ll never know. Quite possi- bly she assumed it because K.N. was also a good friend of my matemal grand- mother, Petrina. Before I leave this subject I must tell you an anecdote about K.N. which was related by my guests. Once when he was on a visit, Petrina’s daughter, Betty, then a child of four or five, decided to show him her most prized possession, a quarter which she had somehow come by. Betty, sit- ting opposite me admitted she could not recall how. Because she considered it a treasure — and it was for a child in the depression — she had set it on a fancy plate and stored it in the cabinet. Now, to show off to her guest, she brought it out for him. The poet then dug into his trousers for a second quar- ter and presented it to her. Needless to say, the child was over- whelmed and delighted. However, her high spirits soon evaporated. After K.N. had left, her mother gave her a sound scolding, one she yet remembers. We must realize that in those hard days money was a serious business. It was not to be toyed with. Betty in her inno- cence just couldn’t comprehend the connotations attached to it. But the story does show us, what a thoughtful and generous man the poet was. Now, lest I disappoint you, by not closing with another of K.N.’s verses, read on: K.N. had recently published a book of his works and he makes sport of himself in this ditty. Advertisement Firewood sells cheaper now, Finest stuff by measure; If my booklet kindles well, I’ll soon have gained my treasure. Here’s my ad to valley folk, ----“Tis the truth, I’m telling — Woodlot merchants have it now; It is theirs for selling.” Upcoming Events Sat., June 15 Seattíe Sat, June 15 Seattle Sat, June 15 New York June 15 & 16 Alberta June16 Alberta Sun., June 16 Alberta Sun, June 16 Winnipeg Sat., June 22 Saskatchewan June 22 - 23 Cavalier Sun, June 23 Toronto June 27-30 Fargo-Moorhead Sun, July 7 Hnausa Sun., July 28 Alberta Aug. 3,4 & 5 Thurs., Aug. 15 Seattle Oct. 15-19 Minot, N.D. Icelandic Independence Day Celebration - at the Swedish Club, 1920 Dexter Ave. N.—social hour 6 - 7 p.m., catered dinner with hángikjöt from Iceland and entertainment by “Mr. Music” from Iceland. Dinner & Dance S20., dance only $10. Reservations to: the Icelandic Club c/o Norma Nielson, 1743 N.W. 57th St. #301, Seattle 98107 (206) 782-3026. □ □ □ Annual Icelandic Independence Day Celebration - at the Swed- ish Club, 1920 Dexter Ave. N., Seattle. Dinner, Program, and Dance — starting at 6 p.m. Featuring our 1991 Fjallkona, Gene (Mrs. Dale) Juel, Musical entertainment, presentation of two scholarships. A great evening planned — bring your friends! □ □ □ Þjóðhátíðardagur Islendinga -1-6 p.m. at the Rye Recreational Ctre., S5. per person, free for children under 10. All Welcome! □ □ □ íslendingamót - at Markerville — kid’s races, program, pot luck, supper, dance. Camping room on grounds. □ □ □ Special Worship Service - in celebration of lOOth Anniversary Vonin Icelandic Ladies Aid of Markerville — 11 a.m. at the Markerville Lutheran Church. □ □ □ Icelandic IndependenceDay - Featuring Icelandic heritage crafts & entertainment at Stephansson House Historic Site, MarkerviOe □ □ □ Icelandic Independence Day Annual Celebration - Wreath- laying ceremony at Jón Sigurðsson Statue, Legislative Grounds - 2 p.m. Procession begins at the steps of the Legislative Building, followed by a Musical Programme at 2:45 p.m. at St. Stephen’s Broadway United Church (Broadway & Kennedy St.). Admit- tance to concert $5., children 12 and under free. All are welcome! □ □ □ Vatnabyggð Icelandic Independence Day Picnic - 3 p.m., at Fishing Lake, Sask. Bring your own lunch. Everyone welcome. Music - songs - games - socializing! □ □ □ Icelandic State Park Settlement Days - Take a step back in time with a heritage celebration featuring ethnic entertainment, foods, crafts, exhibits, demonstrations, carriage rides, and many games and contests. A great reason to visit Lake Renwick and the brand- new Icelandic Park Pioneer Heritage Center. call (701) 265-4561 □ □ □ íslendingadagurinn Picnic - at Macaulay’s Farm in Halton Hills Celebrated since 1874 — Plan now to attend! □ □ □ Scandinavian Hjemkomst Festival - annual enthusiastic re- creation of Scandinavian traditions—one of America’s premiere □ □ □ Meeting of the INL Executive -1:30 p.m., Eyrarbakki Contact Nelson. □ □ □ Tombóla Festival - at Stephansson House Historic Site, Markerville — entertainment, games & heritage crafts. □ □ □ íslendingadagurinn - at Gimli □ □ □ Farmers Union of Iceland- an evening of fellowship at the Nordic Heritage Museum. Wine, dessert and coffee with sing-along. □ □ □ Norsk Hostfest Fall Festival - (Concert 8 p.m. Oct. 15) North Dakota’s intemationally-famous Festival featuring top comedy, music, crafts and heritage. For housing Assistance phone 701 - 857-0500



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