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~ By Courtesy of Others ~

 

Nine Have I Known 

Nine nights did I hang
silent in my death
Yggdrasil´s wretched fruit.
None to mourn.
None to comfort.
None to welcome me home.
Sacrificed myself to myself
for the sake of
wisdom.

Up from the darkness
when all hope had fled
rose runes twining.
Sense and meaning
enshrined in form.
I took them up, shrieking.
Some I gave to man.
Some to dwarves, etins, elves, gods.
Some I kept for myself.

Nine worlds I know.
Worlds of fire.
Worlds of ice.
Worlds of dwarves
and of gods.
Of giants and of darkness.
Worlds for the dead
and midgarth in the center,
our shining hope.

Up I lifted
the middle lands
green and lush.
The sun in the south
to warm the bones of Ymir.
With beautiful trees
I shared my breath.
Gave sense and soul
and life.

Nine steps
will take my strongest son.
Crushing hammer in hand
he battles to the death
the eater of hope
defeats the mighty serpent.
Bitten in battle
he falls
poisoned.

Three Norns are there
to speak the fate of men.
Three for gods
and three for dwarves.
Urth gathers ancestral hope.
Verthandi weaves our waking.
And Skuld will cut
on sacred staves
the time of our death.

I remember the war.
Three times I plunged
my spear into her heart.
Three times burned
her beautiful body.
Three times she rose
defiant and wise
drunk on riches
laughing.

Nine words are spoken.
Nine knots tied
in flaxen thread
to charm Baldr´s foal.
Bone sprain
like blood sprain
like limb sprain.
But will it mend
a broken heart?

Nine nights alone
you drove me from your side.
Hid among the witch women
and refused my attention.
On the tenth night
I found you
trembling and silent
in my arms
asleep.

© Bari Mandelbaum

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