This is the first of a new feature on this blog. I’ll be posting ocassional reviews of books that I am reading, poetry related or not. If you’d like to see more of these, please let me know in the comments.
Title: The Viking Spirit: An Introduction to Norse Mythology and Religion.
Author: Daniel McCoy
This book is intended as a introduction to Norse/Viking Mythology and culture for the layman. It is written in a fairly accessible style and contains a plethora of information and retells many of the best known tales from Norse Mythology. He also includes many footnotes and a large bibliography if one is inclined to read deeper about these topics. However, there are some pretty substantial flaws in the book that a potential reader should be aware of:
A one-armed Odin-eyed
Mad martyr prophet
Stands at the edge of the abyss,
Visions of the White Wyrm
Strangling creation; swallowing time.
Twilight stars fall,
Diamonds plunged in velvet night,
Grandsons kill grandfathers
Before fathers are conceived,
Chaos and Paradox burn
The charred corpse of causality.
Yesterday, today; tomorrow
Collapse on themselves
Folding into singularity:
The final moment.
Wolves loose their chains,
Feasting on Sun, Moon and Sky.
Darkness & silence fall.
The Question left unanswered.
This poem was originally published on The Ink Owl on 8/28/17 as part of his writing prompt challenge using the phrase ‘Into the Deep I Plunge’ to create a fantasy based piece.
Dedicated to the brave men and women fighting all the wild fires in Oregon
Raging fires of Muspelheim
Flaming sword of Surtr,
Gentle beautiful glow
Of destruction peers over the ridge.
A brigade of brave warriors,
Oath sworn to Móðir Jorð,
Stand ready in defense
Of her ancient holy lodge,
Prepared to give no quarter
And surrender no ground,
Facing down the Eldjötnar
And sons of Muspel,
Tearing through the forests of Freyja,
Burning Miðgarð black.
Children of Ash and Elm,
Siblings of Oak and Fir,
Stand at the edge of Ragnarok
Muspelheim = Moo-spell-haym
Móðir Jorð = Moe-thear Yorth (Th as in father) – “Mother Jorð (Earth)”
Eldjötnar = Eld-Yote-nar
Freyja = Frey-ya
Miðgarð = Mith-garth (Th as in Father)
Oðinn = Oh-thin (TH as in Father)
Ragnarök = Rag-na-rock
Pictures are of the Elk Creek Fire currently burning (September ’17) along the Columbia River in Oregon.
Horn of Gondor
Slow gong of the Cloister Bell
Ringing from the depths of the TARDIS.
A call to arms,
Sent from the watchtower on the bridge,
Across the lands of Asgard,
A cry for help
Echoing the shores of Nen Hithoel,
From Amon Hen to Minas Tirith.
The halflings are gone,
The Enemy advances,
Twilight is dawning,
This is the end,
But the moment has been prepared for.
Looking at reflections in jagged shards
of a shattered mirror,
The fall of twilight’s shadow
grows ever nearer,
But when you see the reaping angel
There’s no real reason to fear her.
Remember the words and visions
of the blind Nordic seer
The promises made of runes
sworn on the life of Sleipnir:
Bridges will burn, stars will fall,
Witness it with your own eyes.
Life wanes, blood flows,
Darkness alone fills the skies.
Smoke will settle, the fires cool,
And the Sun will once again rise.
Note: Sleipnir is pronounced “Slayp-near”
Image: Sleipnir, Odin’s eight-legged horse by Mike Craghead
After the smoke of Surtr’s sword clears,
Sitting in the still green field of Iðavöllr
Where Asgard once stood,
Oðinn-sons Víðarr and Váli,
Thier nephews, Móði and Magni,
Dragging Mjölnir between them,
Tippin’ their hats as Baldr and Höðr
Arrive from Helheim.
Trading stories and reminiscing of days gone by,
Before Bifröst burned.
Clearing the dirt and soot from Oðinn’s royal chess set,
Planning the first move of the next game.
Iðavöllr = Ith-a-voll-er (th as in father)
Oðinn = O-thin (th as in father)
Víðarr = Vie-Thar (th as in father)
Váli = Vall-li
Móði = Moe-thi (th as in father)
Magni = Mag-nee
Mjölnir = Mee-yole-near
Baldr = Bald-er
Höðr = Hoe-thur (th as in father)
Helheim = Hel-haym (Hel Home)
Illustration: “After Ragnarok” by Emil Doepler (1905) Found on Norse Mythology for Smart People: Ragnarok.
Loki Loptr Lóðurr,
Trickster lord of air and fire.
Sky walking lie smith
Laufey-son, Jötunn spawn,
Fenrir father, Sleipner mother
Serpent sire, Hel father.
Blood brother to the Alföðr.
Jötnar by birth, Æsir by choice.
Shaving sweet Sif’s head as a joke,
Manipulating Dvegr smithies
To forge a living gold wig for her head,
Create crushing Mjölnir for Þórr’s hand,
and produce other treasures for Asgard.
Dressing in drag with Þórr,
Disguised as Freyja on her wedding day,
To retrieve his stolen hammer from a Jötnar king.
Tricks and games, schemes and jokes
That end in death and pain.
Frigg’s tears at Baldr’s grave,
Loki bound by his son’s intestines,
Sigyn catching the venom
Dripping from the fangs of the snake
Skaði hung over his head,
every hundreth drop burning his forehead,
While she empties her bowl,
Writhing in pain, shaking the ground,
Waiting for the Universe to end.
Loki = Low-Key
Laufeyjarson = Lau-Fee-yar-son
Loptr = Lof-tur
Lóðurr, = Low-Thur
Hveðrungr = H’veth-run-gur (th as in father) (I think)
Laufey = Lau-fee
Jötunn = Yote-un
Fenrir = Fen-rear
Sleipnir = slape-near
Alföðr = all-father
Jötnar = Yote-nar
Æsir = Ay-seer
Dvegr = D’ve-gur
Mjölnir = M-yole-near
Þórr = Thor
Freyja = Fray-ya
Baldr = Bald-er
Sigyn = sey-gin (hard g as in ground)
Skaði = Ska-thi (th as in father)
Illustration: Loke och Sigyn by Mårten Eskil Winge (1825–1896)
This poem is an addition to Níu Heimar and will appear as part of that poem if and when it is published in a book .
When the Nine Worlds have fallen to dust,
All is dead; destroyed.
The surviors, rightious and good,
Shall dwell in the golden hall of Gimlé
On the south side of Ásgarðr.
Moved for safety, some say,
Southward and upward
End long through the second and
Ever upward to the wind wide blue third Heaven,
Far from fire and death,
Where, ’tis said, only the Ljósálfar still dwell.
Ljósálfar = l-juice-al-far
Ásgarðr = As-garth
ð = th in “father”
Níu Heimar, Nine homes,
Nine Worlds the Universe is made.
Through the center Yggdrasil,
The cosmic backbone grows.
At the start there was only
And the gap in between
Muspelheim, home of world wrecker
Surtr and his Eldjötnar,
Fire giants living in volcanic furnaces
Waiting to break Bifröst to bits.
Icy Niflheim, mist-home,
World of dim darkness and fog
Bountiful bubbling spring
—filled by dew drops from the rack
of EikÞyrnir, Valhallan stag—
Where lives Níðhǫggr malice-striker;
From where Elivágar flows,
Feeding the rivers of the worlds.
All my life, says Óðinn Alföðr,
I’ve sought wisdom and knowledge.
I’ve sacrificed, I’ve studied and endured.
And the only thing I am sure of
Is that twilight’s fall can not be averted,
Ragnarök will come, Asgard will burn,
Fenrir will slip his chains, Sköll will feast on Sól’s bones,
Darkness will fall, we will all die.
Its a fact that must be faced,
How its faced will define you.
ð = “th” as in “father”
Óðinn Alföðr = O-thin All-father
Ragnarök = Rag-na-rok
Fenrir = Fen-rear
Sköll = Skole (Rhymes with “toll”)
Sól = Sole
Image: “Odin, der Göttervater. Odin enthroned with weapons, wolves and ravens” by Carl Emil Doepler (1824-1905). Found in WikiMedia Commons.