Litha

Freyr is golden-locked like barley
his eyes the green of verdant moss,
voice a burbling brook, but all his
beauty is deceiving, for he is death
spilling out blood on Nerthus’ breast
to fructify the earth and till tithes
for Vanaheim does not run on mead alone
no, it requires seed and gore and bone
Barri Woods always know lover’s lilacs,
but at midsummer, the flowers bloom red
as Ingvi takes the sickle to his neck
and paints his head on the summer wind
gift for a gift, his manhood swells,
Odin may hang but Freyr is a mound,
and true nobility flows from riches
buried deep beneath the soil, and so
my Golden God pays all Asgard’s debts
and Gerda kisses him back to life, his
true sword serves them well, overflow,
overflow,
spill.

Berserker

We dance in blood and bite our shields
wolf-swift, bear-wild, boar-ravaging,
Odin calls our minds to drumming fury
we sink our red teeth into crow flesh,
chant the songs of the hunt, bellows
smelt our swords and we are dread-ruin
scavengers of the battlefield, ravens
that swoop in on the brink of night,
the killfeast is spread before Asgard
our spoils and murders and pillages
pile so high their fumes reach Bifrost
steaming flesh for the Aesir, burnt
crops for the Vanir, blood for Jotun,
come drink down gore and sharpen eyes
so that you can see the arc of ages,
we peered into the depths of Mimir’s
well, got drunk on the mead, swam
in the blood of the Alfather’s eye
and war-glorious, we return to halls
laden with blood gold and seidhrkonas
honor to Odin, honor to the beasts,
honor to the Tree we hang from.

Odin’s Cloak

Gray-blue are the cosmos, ice your beard –
Ansuz etches chainmail on my skin, cloak
of wind-blown wisdom laces like a corset
I am protected at the heart of the storm
in a cocoon of galdr and Gangleri’s eye,
blue blue blue iris, it casts off evil,
and I am slow dancing with thunder, I
breathe in petrichor and exhale lightning:
Alfather, save a place in your hall for me.

Ansuz

I chase the Alfather’s breath in the Northern Lights
my spine is snow, downy elkskin and leather my dressings
the wolves throng round me and wreathe me in ice fractals
wily Odin has become the constellations, god of blizzards
flanked by Geri and Freki in Niflheim’s outer boundaries
splashes of neon gold and ghost green and ectoplasm blue
make up the string of runes in the sky, veil of Frigga –
to be parted by the Wanderer only, and as I gaze into his
hollow eye, I know I stare down Mimir’s well, drowning in
tundra and subzero ordeals, my bones are brittle, I become
nothing but our thirst for knowledge, screaming Ansuz, air,
casting galdr up to the heavens and going berserk for wisdom
the wolves are with me, are me, I am teeth and fangs gnashing
I could slit the wrists of the Milky Way and drink down Ymir
I scream in ecstasy and terror as the rune takes hold, molds
a girl becoming gift of the gods, Odin blinks worlds: Ragnarok.

Spear of Asgard

I drown in the musk of thunderheads –
sensations clash, slash of a spine,
Gungnir impales me, one stark blue
eye laughs as my body hangman jigs,
its companion a waterfall emptiness
socket of creation and devourings
in his brains I see the stars and on
his lips are a thousand of my deaths
I am no shieldmaiden, just a lost poet
who summons storms and raging Wild Hunt
with nine bargains I will always lose
better to be a chess piece than checkers
at least then your fate isn’t textbook.

Gift for a Gift

You ask what price I paid to paint Ymir’s brains
across the cosmos? Sacrifice of hangman’s jig to
my own mortality, morality, I lost humanity come
the gallows, all that was left was ergi sorcerer,
wild wanderer, Bolverk Sly-Serpent questing after
Gunnlod’s mead. What Tyr whispered to the Fenris
Wolf as his hand snapped off is the same I say to
you: a gift for a gift, and your offerings summon
my whimsy, flipping the bird at me is a compliment,
you etched and sketched and drew and quartered me –
don’t think to tame the storm, I ride on thuderheads,
I ate up my forefather’s bones and took Jotun into me
all to become strong, because I could, because I was
there, and the opportunity to be more than ancestral
clash of ice and fire called to me like Frigga’s breast,
Wanderer, Warrior, Wounded King, I am all at once, a
conundrum of clashing seasons, but in truth I am always
winter, and your spine will dance in ice in my hands
so keep playing, sweet child: seek my riddled answers
I cannot promise you a throne but wisdom, glory, pain.

Alfather

What would you ask of me, Alfather?
Old Man of the Roaring Northern Gale.
I have seen your blue cloak in auroras
your bloody hollow on yews of sacrifice.
In your eye socket were worlds and kings
feasting on your brains, and your grimace
was more wolf-smile or raven curiosity
than pain, you swung, Gallows King, wept
runes onto Mannaheim, your bag of stars
empty of all but the most crushing embers.
Odin Many-Faced, your men and women mark
their days with interlocking triangles to
nooses, for the hangman’s jig befits jester
questors who bathe themselves in wanderlust.
Am I just the newest in a string of Ynglings
to sip mead from giant skulls and wordsmith
your epithets to death? Will hale horns be
enough to please the King of Nine Worlds?
Or are you just toying as a muse for a lost
poet that cannot tell needfires from knives?
You take insults as compliments, and my raised
middle finger is an invitation to stalk, strike
so I write to appease you, sinking into madness,
and you are all winter and pain, endless journey.