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~ By Courtesy of Others ~

 

Song of the Einherjar
 

I was a young man then
and lived for the spear-dance.
My blood pounded hot then
as summer's hard sun.
My thoughts then were bold ones
of women and warfields,
and glory and prowess
upon either one.

It was a grey morning:
in rain I had risen.
I let my horse lead me
to drink at a stream.
As we drew near it
I heard someone singing
a song full of glory,
of ravens and steel.

I stood as if rooted
and drank in the fine sound.
All the gold in the world
could not move me away.
Instead I strode closer
to glimpse the song's singer
and when I gazed on her
my breath fell away.

She sang as she bathed
as lithe as the salmon,
all clothed only
in what the gods made.
Her skin pale as the glaciers,
her eyes golden as amber,
and her hair gleamed as red
as a new-blooded blade.

When her song ended
she turned and she saw me.
She smiled like she knew me,
as if pleased I was there.
She rose and stepped toward me
clad just in cool water,
and I?  I went to her--
I was a young man.

I woke in the noon's sun
and I woke up smiling.
I looked for my lover
but I was alone.
My horse she had taken,
but where he'd been tethered
a fine leaf-blade spear leaned--
like black ice it shone.

Now that spear's served me well
in the long years I've had it;
it's light was the last light
full many men knew.
My kinsmen joke often
how my spear is bewitched--
I have no answer.
My wordfame has grown.

Enough years have passed now
to turn my beard silver.
Again, I'm in service
to a man who'd be king.
As part of his warband
I stand on the warfield
with my spear and my kinsmen,
and hear the crows sing.

How long it goes on
from the first ringing shieldclash--
a moment, a lifetime,
no man can fair say.
Just the thunder of steelsong
and screams of the dying
and the stink of the blood
while Wyrd works its way.

But it's odd now how this time
through the killing and dying
I hear someone singing
a half-recalled song.
And I listen and smile
while I feed my spear's hunger,
and the singing grows clearer
and sweeter and strong.

How a man's death comes
is only as important
as how each man meets it
when it comes for him.
I meet mine fighting
a foe from the borderland--
my spear finds his heart
while his own blade bites me.

I fall to my knees
in the blood of my banesman.
The fighting rages 'round me
but silently now
except for the singing--
I hear it full clearly:
A song full of glory,
full of ravens and steel.

A touch on my shoulder
and my eyes fly open--
I am not dead yet,
though the ravens draw near.
I look into eyes
as gold as the eagle's,
see hair flowing red
as the blood on my spear.

She smiles as she sees me,
so fiercely, so fondly,
and she speaks my name
in a voice full of light.
She cradles my head
in her arms as I lie there
and my last heart-blood spills,
stains her swan-coat of white.

Now again I'm a young man
and I live for the spear-dance
and my blood runs as hot as
the gods' oldest war.
And when Ragnarok comes,
I will fight it beside Them,
my spear and my shield-maid,
to Valhalla's own door.

 

© Lyrics, tune: Karen L.U. Kahan  7/2003

savagedaughter.net with more of Karen´s Nordic poetry

Tales of Stone and Ice -- Songs from a Heathen Perspective 
 

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