A (very) young David Foster Wallace’s “Viking Poem”

If you recognize the name David Foster Wallace then you might be scratching your head at finding his name here. He didn’t write any children’s books and, well, if children’s books are at one end of the literary spectrum, you’d probably find his books at the other. He wrote very dense, very complex, carefully crafted prose (and some of the most magnificent essays you’ll ever read — if you haven’t checked out A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, just do). His loss a few years back was extraordinary tragic.

So why are we blogging about him now? Not for any grand reason; simply because we stumbled across a 2010 post on TheAwl.com about a piece found in DFW’s archives. It was a hand-written poem from a 6- or 7-year-old Wallace entitled “Viking Poem.” The poem is short and sweet but with a faint hint of DFW’s wit (“Because they’d kill you very well / and all your gold they’ll certainly sell.”). What’s striking about the poem is less about its content and more about how fascinating it is to get a tiny glimpse at a mind that would go on to do so much important thinking.

Take a minute out of your day to enjoy some straight-forward, slightly clunky verse from a child who would mature into one of the greatest writers/thinkers of our time.

Click here to read “Viking Poem” on The Awl