Viking Nave

Yesterday in Oslo we visited a museum with a stave church.  At the steeple of the church we saw the fore and aft of a Viking ship.  This is fitting  since the ancient church considered the church, or nave, to be a ship.  The following poem is reflection on this.


Stave churches

do not stray far

from home.  Yet, Viking steeples


North Sea sagas and summon

adventurous pleas to please hoist anchor.

No, these Nordic arks are not to be restricted

to pairs of possibilities, rather a plethora

of potentials, as that itinerant

preacher sets root in this skiff.

He sprouts as mast, and from this stalk, he

stretches forth beams decked with



Sister wind wills this

stave ship

this way, that – madly off –

a discipleship

befitting a Viking nave.


12 thoughts on “Viking Nave

  1. There is such a beauty to these churches. Thank-you for your words which call them back to life.

  2. diannegray says:

    This is wonderful, Allen.

  3. Denise Hisey says:

    I already forgot you were on this exciting trip, Allen!
    Wow!! That is really fascinating! You’ve always got something for me to learn…

  4. shoreacres says:

    I really do like “he sprouts as mast” – that’s quite remarkable imagery. As for “madly off” – that reminds me of “Madly Off in All Directions”, the CBC comedy show.

    And speaking of Canadians – here’s another bit of architecture that recalls both stave churches and the ships, Frank Gehry’s redo of the Art Gallery of Ontario.

  5. agjorgenson says:

    Thanks! I regularly visit what is called the ‘Italian Gallery’ (reflecting donors). Gehry has reenergized the place.

  6. jannatwrites says:

    I’ve never heard of a stave church (I clicked your link- the photos are stunning!)

  7. agjorgenson says:

    Glad for your learning and mine too! The stave churches are something else.

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