Háskólavísur 04: Imagine Peace Tower

On October 9, I got to see the annual lighting of the Imagine Peace Tower, an outdoor work of art by Yoko Ono, located on Viðey Island just off the coast of Reykjavík here in Iceland. Its name in Icelandic, Friðarsúlan (lit., ‘the pillar of peace’), immediately reminded me of the ancient heathen toast, “til árs ok friðar” (lit., ‘for abundance and peace’). From there, I wondered if perhaps a second tower is needed, a hypothetical Árssúlan (lit. ‘the pillar of year’ in Modern Icelandic, but in Old Norse, “ár” also has meanings of plenty, abundance, and fruitfulness). Thus I wrote this verse:

On fair Viðey is the Friðarsúlan,
a pillar for peace in this pleasant land.
But lacking still is a luminous tower
for abundant boons to bless the world,
Iceland’s Árssúlan, for the ancients knew,
in the elder toast, “til árs ok friðar,”
that peace and plenty must prosper together.

Copyright © 2014 Eirik Westcoat.
All rights reserved.


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