A.N: Again Norse-related, again the result of me reading the Prose Edda half-asleep (same session as the previous one as a matter of fact). You could argue this is also the cliff-notes version of the Volva’s prophesy (albeit a lot more biased – I have my favourites, what you’re gonna do about it?). Honestly, I feel like I should be assigning background reading side by side with uploading this, not sure how much of it is obscure if you haven’t read the Eddas….It’s more of a reaction poem, a way of me getting out my frustration with the parts of the mythology that I don’t like. And for the record, when I say All-Father, I don’t mean Odin. Yes, it’s one of his kennings but technically speaking he is like Zeus, a third(+) generation divine being, so in my opinion the title should go to the first, male(-ish?), Creation-initiating figure. Any other points that are unclear, please let me know. 🙂
A beautiful mirror hangs over land
Shining reflection of what is below
For ages long it hung un-cracked
Adorned with red gold and ice silver
Bor’s sons did kill the All-Father
A crack was formed on the edge.
With treachery and blood was Asgard’s mortar mixed
The silver then blackened
Trice did the golden maiden burn
Thus did the seer decry
Red gold peeled away, bone marrow was ‘neath
The head’s whisper gave cause
For three children the underworld to claim
The frame groaned under the dwarf thread keeping it together
Wars ravaged the lands, worthy men fell,
Rose and fell again denied respite
See how the glass is dimming?
Gifts unacknowledged do enmity inspire
They are not the bearer’s to give away
Hear you the murmurs in citadels old
None has the power to halt the wheel.
The smoke that hides the beauteous mirror
Reveals what the gazer fears to see
There aren’t oaths enough in the world
To halt the dread maid’s demand for bounty.
See you the cracks as they spread each winter
The dragons awaken one by one
Blood made the world blood will unmake it
But what will the final splinter cause none knows
Three winters have passed the wolf is howling
The volva laughs as underworld opens their gates.
A.N: Will the mytholgy-inspired poetry ever end? If you’ve been around here for any length of time you’ll know not to hope… A slightly more obscure one this week, mostly because I was reading Snorri while still sipping my first coffee of the day. He’s pretty interesting if you think about it, being both a primordial creature and…uh…the universe’s building block (and people complain about Enuma Elis being violent!) All matters of in-family murder and Snorri’s nasty attitude towards giants aside, I see Ymir as a tragic figure in the same way Chronos is one (Saturn for those more familiar with the Latin names, although they are not exactly the same….): aware of his upcoming demise, yet unable to stop it due to his nature. But yeah, my version of Ymir is a bit of a prophet (and ever notice how similar Ymir and Mimir sound?) so he knows that the young upstarts planning to dismember him are not going to have the best of endings either…
Ymir’s last dream
The Old Father Time slept through the ages
Awake then he sang of the worlds t’were to come
Frozen in fire and burnt from the ice
The great gaping gap his grandchildren ploughed
The river dream swelled a sapling uncovered
The great ash tree grew from Aurgelmir’s corpse
Tears he shed not for the crime not yet committed
Punishment reaches murderers all
P.S. Mum, if you’re reading this, I SWEAR not all my course reading is quite that -um- graphic!
A.N: Now this poem is the twin of last week’s nugget. I originally wrote it first, but when I was planning the schedule for this month’s uploads I was hit by a strong sense of “Ladies first”. What can you do? Similar influences on this one, although Völuspá is obviously more influential. I don’t know, it always bugged me how -apparently- the only female figure to survive Ragnarok is a human woman. I mean, more power to us mortal ladies, but wouldn’t it make sense to have a goddess survive as well? I suppose Hel and the Norns do (hard to imagine the universe functioning without them….) but it is not explicitly stated. Hence last week’s pick-up-the-slack-in-the-background poem, while now we have the front-and-centre-stage point of view. Hardly an optimistic outlook but in my defence, bitter poetry is how I remain semi-functional in the real world.
Sons of a New Age
Under the golden roofs of old
The children of tomorrow fumble
With their fathers’ chess pieces
Strewn anew in freshly-grown grass.
From the fiery ice and blood
The saplings sprout again
The sons do walk their forebears’ footsteps.
And below them all the dragon sleeps
In old-age glory nestled
Till the roaring sound of arms
Wakes them once more.
A.N: This is the result of one too many staying-up-lates reading multiple mythologies at the same time. Here in particular, there’s elements of Babylonian, Greek and Norse myths, taken entirely out of context and mashed in my own very personal variation of “regardless of geographical location the bare bones of mythology remain the same”. The poem is supposed to be less of a cosmogony and more of a post-end-of-the-world scenario, but I supposed it could be taken either way. The stories that inspired it were delightfully ambiguous on the matter, probably due to several centuries/millennia of re-writes and dubious translations.
Daughters of Long-Gone
Beneath the timeless sea of ever
Yesterday’s daughters sleep and dream
And in their dreams the world they shape
Gift to the brethren that’s to come.
Covered in darkness the dragon mother
Spends an eternity at birth
Endlessly labouring for her children.
The daughters sing – the sons forget
The ancient blood-call humming
Deep in their veins that turned
From stardust to dirt.