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One of the seven mosaics Carl-Henning Pedersen constructed in Ribe Cathedral in South-west Jutland in the years 1982-87 is entitled “Efter Syndfloden” (“After the Flood”). It depicts three images: a dove with an olive leaf in its beak (at the top); the “Ark”, a vessel whose bow and three masts are typical of a Viking ship (in the middle); and Noah, in a state of drunkenness, being covered by two of his sons with a blanket made of squares knitted in different colours, i.e. a traditional Danish one (at the bottom).

The mosaics display no other such overt instances of rifacimento. The artist’s use of it in “Efter Syndfloden” highlights the fact that South-west Jutland is very vulnerable to severe flooding.

Here’s a poem I’ve written, inspired by this mosaic:

After the Flood

Was Noah no a Viking, Lord?
ggHe tired of rape and loot,
acquired a special liking for
ggdistilled fermented fruit,
and set up his own winery.
ggHis kitchen, lounge and hall
were soon one big refinery,
ggbut, thinking it too small,

he filled his daddy’s granary
ggwith twelve enormous vats,
and, being a careful planner, he
ggthen started breeding cats.
Like any other skipper, he
gghad others tread the grape.
He made the surface slippery
ggto cut off their escape.

The trouble with this feline corps
ggwas cat piss in the brew,
so Noah made a beeline for
gga different kind of crew.
He gathered all the animals
ggto test their aptitude,
but multiplying mandibles
ggmeant insufficient food.

One morning, in the pouring rain,
ggthe Viking clan secured
the granary for storing grain.
ggThe wine, not yet matured,
was siphoned off by elephants,
ggfrom trunk to trunk to trunk,
and thrown out to the elements
gginstead of being drunk.