Whispers from the Wolf

The Fenris Wolf is marsh chomp madness, Nastrond froth
at lip like knives, man in a silver pelt with dog nose,
beard of woman binding, sweet lies his eternal weeping.

He whispers in my skaldic ear of a sister long-lived,
but long-dead, Hela Jodis, horse of the blue ancestors,
Othala and Nauthiz and Hagalaz, crowned in black bog.

She dances in shadow and peat, painted skeleton cobweb,
tattered dress of white taffeta and lace, decay mask
gapes open to reveal the infinity of endless green wyrd.

“My sister is the only one who braves the blizzard to
feed me, the starving ruin of Asgard, and I weep for my
family, torn apart by the Aesir, I shall devour all but
her.”

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Epigraph of the Wanderer

Inked on my hand in charcoal swaying
is the Ancient Wanderer, silent hang
from a yew that bends with sweet sap.

His one good eye a forgotten breeze,
his hands like tines raking the dirt,
searching past waterfalls for language.

There is a lightning swastika sun,
an emblem once holy, now cursed,
his corpse is blood-drunk but holy.

Blindi can see with more than nerves,
for his bones are in the web of wyrd,
now a Runic rock carving on my skin.

Sinthgunt

Sister of Sunna, but you are silver starlight,
reflection of the Milky Way in rushing rivers,
hair gray-gold of the cosmos, blue cloak wind,
the black hole is yours, time is your cosmic staff,
and you peer at dissected wyrd through diamonds,
your eyes snowflake crystals from frozen comets,
your stallion gallops as Sinthgunt the Wise rides
out to draw down the day, to wake brother moon,
you are the liminality between Sunna and Mani,
quiet as mouse footfalls through swaying grain,
there is an ancientness about Sinthgunt, young
yet crone, mistress of hours and many dimensions,
extraterrestrial maiden, married to space’s sea.

Allie’s Lokasenna for Dummies, Part 1:

Odin: “You womanly man, remember when you spent years underground as a milkmaid, Loki!”

Loki: “Well high and mighty Alfather, at least I didn’t crossdress as a sorceress and travel the world as a woman!”

Frigga: “Can we all PLEASE forget about your homoerotic drunken youth, guys? We’re at a fancy feast…”

Odin and Loki: “NO!”

– Allie’s Lokasenna for Dummies

Gold Mother

Your silky milky legs part, and out spills the new sun
you moan in ecstasy and from your mouth a rainbow,
from your heaving breasts sweat of mead and amber,
from your glorious cunt streams gold, sweet Freyja,
oh you are the Mother of Light, Mistress of Honey,
brass hair buzzing like bees, womb a bubbling hive,
your heart the seat of all magic, Bright Vanadis, Hail!

Old Man Wonderland

Written at 17, from my earliest memories of the Alfather.

“Goodnight moon,” I whisper.
I am three. I dream.
That night my crib opens
and becomes a ladder to the sky.
Stuffed ducks in hand, I climb it,
blanket around me like a shawl.

I climb up to the sky
I float and laugh and dream
playing with falling stars
alone in the beautiful blue,
I sleep in the curve of the moon.

Old Man watches with eyes
the blue of the storm and sea
He watches over me.
His laugh is deep and hearty
I yelp in surprise and blush,
hide like a fawn behind a cloud
But He bids me to play with him
He looks like the Saint Nicholas man
who comes each December and puts clementines in my boots
so of course I have to trust him.

I sing my stories and songs
Wonderful things I made in my head
I crave his adoration.
Old Man listens, more than indulgent
I bask in his affection
And keep on telling them.

He reads me story books
Has the stars dance to send me dreams
He is master of raconteurs and wanderers,
his traveler’s cloak stuffed full of tales.

He weaves things from the wind and clouds,
bringing my dreams to life
I laugh as I dance amongst them,
young, pink-cheeked and open.

When I’m tired, I cling to his knee
knowing he is the safest place in the world.
I love Old Man like a grandfather,
with his stately beard and crow lined-eyes,
laugh lines are etched in his skin,
deep like cracks in the sidewalk.

He rubs me with his beard, and I laugh,
steal his hat, and run off with his winds.

And I, who was almost named Snorri,
have bleach blond hair to my waist
I’m bait for elves and trolls.
I frolic in leaf piles and forest,
wander across cliffs and the sea.

I grow up. I sometimes forget him.
But his touch is all around me
Grandfather’s beard in the clouds

Old Man is the brine and gale.
He is sea and sky and wind.
The North and soft snowfall
At night, he rides the storm.

He is Nereus, Odin, Njord,
The god with the big white beard.
Nicholas, Mannanan Mac Llyr
He wears a lot of hats.

But really, he’s just Old Man.
My Old Man of the Sea
The Elder of the Crossroads
He smells like pine and New England.

He looks like a lobsterman,
The perched crow on my shoulder,
there are riddles and pipes in his beak.

He had bone-aches when the world was born
And now I’m a hypochondriac,
I share my imaginary ailments with him.

“I think I’m getting arthritis, Old Man.”
“Look at how my wrist creaks!”
“I’ve been writing too much again.”
The writing is his gift, I think.

He looks at me askance, smile crooked
“Knowledge is pain,” he laughs quietly
It sounds like thunder behind clouds.
“Trust me, girl, I know.”

We’re in the beautiful blue again,
The stars sing, and I know they’re angels.
I wave at the ones I know.
The Milky Way is his road
he walks it with staff and cloak.

Galaxies dance around us, gods dart to and fro
Squabbling as they always do
Beautiful in their petulance
He smiles at them, then moves on

Always moving on.

I can barely keep up.

His wanderings- they’re like the moon.

“Did you know, Old Man” I say,
“I used to think this place was Disneyland?”
“When I played here as a kid.”
“I thought you were Mickey Mouse.”

He crooks his head over his shoulder,
runs his fingers through his beard:
“Do I look like Mickey Mouse?”

“No, but there was a commercial in the 90s.
These kids wished on a star
To go to Disneyland.
And the star falls into their hands,
and the star- it took them there.”

“When I was a kid,
I’d stare out my window,
waiting for stars to fall.
But you know what?”

“What?” he asks.

“I had it all along.”

He smiles, points at my heart:
A young star dances within,
glowing blue with wonder.

He snaps his fingers. It disappears.

I grin ruefully. ”I never got to go.”
But this place, Old Man? It’s better.
It’s worth all the Disneylands in the world.”

“And I’m going to need your staff soon,
Because I am getting old.
My back will bend like a willow,
And I’ll wear a hat like yours.”

“And someday, you’ll be young to me
and you’ll carry me then, like a child
So I can travel with you
The old lady on your back.”

“And when all my days have fallen,
Old Man, you’ll be at the prow,
and we’ll sail across the sea together.”

“Together, we’ll go home.”

Well of Urd

There are ice crystals inside you, Niflshot from Hela
they freeze your bones and you are at Yggdrasil’s root,
searching for the heat of Muspell, find only ancestors
whose blood is gone, and placid contemplation of winter
swims through the web of wyrd, well of Urd, drowning
in the branches, flying through the loam, you are the
Odinic hangman grasping for the runes from ancient
Ginnungagap, all there is is the void, eternity, ice
and fire, fire and ice, hot and cold, heat and death.