Hela’s Tithe

The blonde huldra has a birch bark back
she dances in flowery fields for Freyr,
delights in cow tail sweeping men’s sleep
one with the earthen ploughs and dales,
a dancer on the Forest King’s hollows,
but just as Ingvi gives his life harvest,
so must the elf woman learn of sacrifice.
She sleeps in a gossamer moss down bed,
hair long as wheat shafts, sparkling sun,
the Maiden of Helheim, Hela Half Rotted,
rises with the moontide, graces the girl
a spiderwork of bones shimmer under skin
as Hela lays hands over the burning witch
she may belong to the Golden God, but Hela
is also her mistress, life and death twine
like thread in braided brass hair, frolics
in fields, Ingwaz to Ear, Green Man falls
to Lady Death’s scythe, and in the milk of
her marrow, John Barleycorn is reborn.

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