Chapter 3 of book 2, from the “Honor Among Kin” section, is one of my all-time favorite
chapters in Kristin Lavransdatter. When Callie Feyen introduced me to a form called the bio
poem, I realized I needed to write about Bjarne, the poor woman whose grave Kristin robs in
order to save Simon’s son Andres. It’s Kristin’s moment to enter eternity.
As she undertakes her errand (of witchcraft? superstition? faith?) Kristin is changed. The door
closes to her home, to her family, and even to herself, “to the woman who had wandered past, up along the road this night.” The spirits of the dead touch her like leaves, calling to her, and “After this night she could never be afraid of anything else in the world.”
A Ghostly Gift: Bjarneby Megan Willome
Orphaned, honorable, provided-for, dead,
my father’s foster daughter, my sister’s maid,
who loved children, loved the rooted earth, loved gold with rubies,
who was cut to the heart by a dagger in the dark,
who gave turf, sacred ground, the archangel rooster,
who feared abandonment, poverty, desecration.
who would have liked to see the boy I saved—the bony chicken of a child.
Look back, Kristin, look under your arm as you leave the poor section of the cemetery.
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