St Ansgar in the Prairies and the Frost


Winter 1946 by Andrew Wyeth

by Walt Garlington (March 2022)


Draw up the dividing line,

North to south in the middle

Of the stormy sea, a mirror

Image on each side:  To the east

Germany and Scandinavia;

To the west, the Great Plains

Of North America,

From Kansas to North Dakota,

Over to Wisconsin,

And later into Manitoba,

Fanning out through Canada:

Germans, Swedes, Danes, and Norse

Living their ancient life

On both sides of the Atlantic –

‘Ope’ spoken by the tongue

And lutefisk ready on the plate;

Hamburgs, Bremens, and Malmos

Spread across the Midwest,

Home to Meyerses, Nelsons,

Schmitzes, Schneiders –

One body united across the ocean,

Sharing a common father

In the ever young and ancient

Orthodox Church,

Saint Ansgar the Enlightener,

Apostle of the northern lands,

Overthrower of idols,

Powerful preacher,

Worker of wonders.

Through baptism, he made you

One in Christ, destroying

The enmities of yore.

Follow him still; do not run back

To Loki, Odin,

To the gods of elder days,

But gather round mighty Ansgar,

Standing in his sturdy ship,

Wielding the weapon

Of the Holy Cross of Christ,

That you may reach

The true Valhalla,

Safe forever from the devouring jaws

Of the Nidhogg snake.

Then the stories that will be told

Of all the glories of the Christians

Of Europe’s snowy marches

And North America’s prairie lands

Will be greater than the heroes’

Of the sagas you have heard!


Table of Contents


Walt Garlington was born and raised in that part of Dixieland called Louisiana. A chemical engineer by training, he has spent the last several years writing full-time. He has written essays and poems for The Hayride, The Tenth Amendment Center, The Abbeville Institute, Reckonin’, Katehon, Geopolitica, and USA Really. He writes regularly at his own web site, Confiteri: A Southern Perspective.

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast

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