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A Reconciliation

«As though deep in thought – a home, / built on a cliffside scree; / there it stood, where predators roam, / shored up by an ancient tree. / When the storm raged and shook, / the tenant’s heart was afraid; / then he took forth his Holy Book – / fell to his knees and prayed. »

1878
2017-04-2608:45 Marianne Gjelseth

A Reconciliation (1878) is a story in rhyme in nine verses.

A shipwrecked man is cast ashore on a deserted island and settles in a shack there. People say the unnamed man is a murderer on the run. One stormy night, after thirty years of solitude, he is able to save a woman’s life, and in this way atones for his earlier misdeed. The poem ends with the nameless main character being found dead, a bible in his hand.

The drama in the poem, and the pathos in its form, relate this to another examples of Late Romantic writing, with the example of Ibsen’s Terje Vigen (1871) being perhaps the most striking.