Fin Troll

I sit with Freyja Golden-Tears on top of a barrow mound

pour barley beer and hops of spring in honor of Ingvi,

Freyr blossoms like a snowdrop, white, resplendent,

and we talk long of summer days and strawberry wine.

Thor walks out from the raspberry brambles, lips bitter

with the taste of early fruits, he delights in the sun,

god of thunder ruddy bearded with his April rain.

Odin carries Gungnir Ever-true and parts lush ivy,

a storm brews, the Fin troll tramples the sea, I take

Thor’s hammer and turn troll to stone at dawn,

he a cathedral pillar, giant who would usurp Asgard.

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Old Man Wednesday

Alfather, my old friend, hail to you on this winter day.

I give thanks for your blessing, I give thanks for toil.

For it is in respite we can count the fruits of our labor.

We sit in Asgard as the spring draws long days afresh

from the frost, and petals are already blooming.  I hail

your patronage, all the tricks of poetry and magic you

have gifted me, and we talk long over spiced mead of

the duty of kings, and how in the death of your son,

you found renewal, a new purpose, but above all,

peace – losing the greatest thing you had meant that

there was nothing left to give, a twisted freedom that.

Hela will not let you in to her table Hunger, where

Balder feasts with Nanna and grandchildren that you

will never know, but there is a kind of surrender in

making peace with death, Grimnaldi, and you have a

bet with the Norns – who will go first?  Necessity or Need.

You call yourself Masked King to me, Hooded Ruler,

for a regent wears many faces – Wanderer, Warrior,

Sage and Spearman.  On Mani’s day, I knitted myself

a cloak of Ansuz, powered by your witchlight, and I

have slept under its protection ever since, rest I have

never tasted – a galdr you burned on my bones in

beautiful blue fire, your cloak over my shoulders,

for we are both insomniacs, to musing you succumb.

All your epithets and epigraphs penned to death, you

simply listen to your skald, who will tell her own tales

in time, and the crops send out taproots, and Freyr

courts Maiden Spring – your Wild Hunt rests, and it

is a time of frith – you were never good at peace in your

young days, but sweet Frigga taught you the value of

patience – not in this life, but perhaps a next one, you

will see your son again, and sweet grandbabes will

greet Old Man North, and ride pony on his lap, at last.

Blood Brothers

Loki and Odin Blood Brothers

Scarlip and the Old Bastard go way back, sweet-tooth,
see them dancing in the rain under an abandoned train,
watch them scooping sparrow eggs to fry up for food,
they cast runes to woo the maidens, Loki with elvin
songs on his guitar of ash wood, Odin the shaman drum.
Blood brothers, mud brothers, river brothers, stone.
They mixed lips and wine and gore in a damp summer,
a ragtime summer, and they wander the Nine Worlds,
only to find crows, ravens, vultures, snakes, wolves.
Flamehair and Greyhair. Alfather and Father of Monsters.
One sage, one shady, none saint. Deal us your finest
cigars, bartender, another glass, we toast our kinship
on this darkest winter night, memories play like storms.

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.

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

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.”

Fear of Falling (Into Love, and the Unknown)

Before I met you, I was bold in front of Death,
and graveyards never scared me, terminal cracks
in star-bright skin were things of murky legend,
but now I have a knight to carry my banner, I
cannot stop drowning in shadows of gloomy wonder,
and I hate Death, and he is a fiend, to ever dare
dream of taking You from Me. My heartbeat is not
my own, but the whisper of willows in your lungs,
your boughs fall and form my windy limbs, I climb
treehouses to the canopy in dreams to drink the sun,
and my star is you – but stars die, cattle die, and
kindred die – it is names that live on, and Alfather
won’t stop quoting the fucking Havamal to allay fears
of a world where you do not exist, or are torn away.

You are too precious to die, my love. So ascend.
I will carry you to Valhalla, perhaps Heaven, wherever
you are kept safe, and warm, cherished, and loved.

I never feared death before I met you.