An elderly Italian woman missed Air France flight 447 when she arrived too late to board the plane. She escaped death when the plane went down into the Atlantic, killing 228 people, only to die a week later in a head-on collision with a truck on a road in Austria. Events like this raise the question, is it fate, coincidence, or the hand of God, however God is defined. I confess I have not the answer, though I don’t believe our fate is written, chiseled in everlasting stone. Nonetheless, there are times I think the ancients had it right, that there are gods living among us, gods who know our fates, gods who shape our lives. In Germanic legend the mistresses of human destiny were the Norns, three spinners; Urd, who knew the past; Verthandi, who knew the present; and Skuld, who knew the future. It is they, the Norns, who shape the destiny of men. And who shall say they do not?
Here is the babe, the women said
In silence as they crept
Into the house and to the bed
Where little Barack slept
But hours old, Verthandi sighed
What know of him, dear Urd?
The past is blank, though I have tried
Of him there is no word
No past? said Skuld, how can that be?
Perhaps, dear Urd, you’ve missed
The lad’s now hidden history
For surely there’s a list
There is no list, no proof of birth
His presence unremarked
The lad has simply come to earth
We know not where embarked
But ‘tis the future of the lad
With which we must engage
His future now, if good or bad
Dear Skuld, please fill the page
I shall, dear Urd, and you will hear
Him promising much change
I see him bringing hope and fear
And what is passing strange
I see a country bending low
Accepting every whim
I see a people crying so
And all because of him
I see that freedom’s lost its way
And men do quake in fright
In hearing what this lad doth say
So say the fates tonight
Is there no hope, can naught be done?
It’s written now in stone?
Ah no, said Skuld, they’re saved from One
By Ronald Reagan’s clone