Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Valkyrie in the Sand

Valkyrie Helm, by yigitkoroglu


Valkyrie in the Sand


She stood on the last hill and looked down.

From here he was only
a supper for crows
blind and fast faceless
spread out a dark blur on the rocks,
blood around him like a fine sauce
calling the fourlegs to come and eat.
His weapon lay beside him 

broken
in a place of broken bodies
pressed into bloody earth.
Splayed limbs in the last breath of lust
give a red drenching to the land
they fought to own
that now owns them.

Mad scarlet, flickering firelight;
women white and wounded rave and weep,
children go hungry, silent and still
as the soft sound of never
comes too close,
and fills its belly.
Below, in the darkness

his spirit twists a banner thin as smoke
planted on the wind. He sighs
waiting for the last ride
home to the high hall
glory with the companions
name forever blest
certain dues for death.

Yet her strong arms 
are empty as
she feels the fade come on her.
Backwards in a
shimmering mirage
through the blowing sand
each step unties her.

Home
in the place of frozen gods, 
of clean cold, 
of the long wait
for the end of things,
the sighs of the dead 
disappear.

The desert is no place for a valkyrie.


April 2011



will be
Posted for OneShotWednesday at the inimitable OneStopPoetry



Image: Valkyrie Helm, by yigitkoroglu, courtesy deviantArt



37 comments:

  1. That is the best war poem I've read in many, many years. It captures time and mythologizes this present madness. Your work, always excellent, here is breath-stopping. The last three stanzas are spartan spare and fierce. The last line ties it!

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  2. i liked this very much.... you have mentioned myths yet not rejoiced in the glory...very well written...pete

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  3. "Mad scarlet, flickering firelight;
    women white and wounded rave and weep,
    children go hungry, silent and still"
    I think this is a great war poem, as Gay has mentioned. However, what I enjoyed most was the different perspectives taken—like director's shots and pans—beginning by looking down on the remains, to blurs, action scenes and even extreme close-ups. Excellent writing from multiple vantage points.

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  4. Excellent poem, so wisely done. Love it!

    All the best
    Marinela x

    Short Poems

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  5. It was as if you were filming an epic tale, but through your words it bought another perspective. Love the mythology of the Valkyrie, thought you did the editorial brilliantly, almost went NOO as I read the lines
    Yet her strong arms
    are empty as
    she feels the fade come on her.

    In an epic, she can't cross over yet! sort of way! Excellent Joy!

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  6. Great stuff, as I said before!

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  7. Joy, this is a stellar piece of writing on the Norse myth.

    Pamela

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  8. Till we meet in Valhalla. Grim and lovely all at once.

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  9. Nothing like a atheist's Valhalla to chill the cooling blood of the dead. No 40 virgins in socko bustiers and horn helmets for this hacked and anointed. Well, what could a myth tell us about the bourne from which no berserker returns? Gives a warrior comfort in dying, even if the fade to zero is absolute after last breath. Fine sauce for the bloodeagles of war -- those winged feeders -- though for the departed, there's neither comfort nor torment: just the icy pause in deep space waiting for Ragnarok. Your goddesses always curdle both war-dog and Baptist. - Brendan

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  10. A great story you have got here. :)

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  11. I love the Norse Myths, and Mythology in general really floats my boat in poetry. Nicely written piece, I think you've done it justice.

    Warmest Salad

    Luke

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  12. excellent hedge...i was rather thinking of the movie troy as i was reading this...each step untying her was a cincher for me...

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  13. they fought to own/ that now owns them-- gave me shivers.
    Also:
    silent and still
    as the soft sound of never
    comes too close,
    and fills its belly.

    Fabulous use of mythology as a metaphor for current events.

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  14. Someone said that the paths of glory lead but to the grave. (It was either Thomas Gray or Kirk Douglas...I forget). You've depicted that unforgivingly here.

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  15. Wonderful piece, absolutely fantastic and yet... I have that underpinning feeling of dread. The valkyr only chose certain amounts of people, not all warriors. Is this one of these unchosen destined to dwell in Hel's lands? The thought makes me shudder.

    And yes, also a great metaphor for current events but I like women with sharp point-ed sticks harvesting dead souls... I'm weird that way.

    Thanks for sharing, glad I took a second out from my script writing to read it! Thanks hedge!

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  16. Many thanks all for stopping by and leaving your input.

    @LV 'Skay, LV--I know that's just the way you roll. And you're completely right--he and who knows how many more, are not among the chosen. The old gods know when to stop. Glad you had time to check it out.

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  17. your work is always wonderful to read for it takes me to places I would not otherwise travel.. "each step unties her" that is such a breathtaking line... excellent piece ~

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  18. War is truly unforgiving as Shay has voiced...I have always avoided blood, avoided the lust of it...though know it is so much apart of our humanity,of all life. Your ability to pen it, its myth and tale always leave me in awe...thank you for sharing your wonderful ability to pen these stories...bkm

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  19. Thank you, barbara. Your poetry works the same way for me.

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  20. I have stayed too long Joy. I know the Norse myth, hear the echos of war in all the deserts of mideast, the senseless butchery that sickens to death and no longer brings the glory of valhalla; But I fancy hearing echoes of Poe: "Take thy beak from out my heart - Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore"- a personal war for the soul as well. In summary I don't know, but love the dark mystery you create, a bit like life's mystery we claim to want explained---we don't really, do we?

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  21. Some may, Ann, but not me--I'm always afraid the explanation would be far worse than the mystery.

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  22. Brilliant, Hedge! Using war mythology to comment on current events is surely a stroke of genius. I'm jealous I didn't think of it!

    "women white and wounded rave and weep" got me. And "the land/they fought to own/that now owns them" is just one of the best observations/critiques on war that I've heard in awhile. The last two stanzas--how each step "unties" her to the aftermath and carries her to (a simpler?) home--is a thought-provoking resolution, if we could say there is one here. Finally, that last line...well, it's a perfect ending. Fantastic offering today!

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  23. Taking us back to myth and legend, and what better a figure to address war with than the legendary Valkyrie? She mythical creature works powerfully as a symbol for modern commentary, and with your skilled descriptions, the piece sings, right through to that final, haunting echo of a note. Very well done.

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  24. Is it heaven or hell? Or the usual, that place in between.

    Phenomenal imagery.

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  25. You describe the scene so well, I can see it in head. Well done!

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  26. this is a brilliant piece. absolutely in awe...

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  27. Then let me die in winter here, that the Valkyrie may take my warriors soul to Valhalla.

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  28. This verse didn't just escape, it flew high and free. Impressive piece!

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  29. Any warrior would be proud of a tribute like this.

    "the soft sound of never
    comes too close" I loved these lines...

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  30. I found "each step unties her" so haunting.

    Would you believe that I was writing (not nearly this well) this morning about a body on rocks? How weird is that?

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  31. Your last line spins the whole verse like malleable clay on a potter's wheel. It's a complete universe in a sentence.

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  32. Awed, as usual, blanked out for the right words. I feel like I stepped into the thick mist of dreams and lived to see with the eyes of the narrator, the 'she who stood on the last hill and looked down', the 'she' who felt 'her arm empty as she feels/the fade come on her' and whose steps on the sand untie her, the 'she' who finds the desert 'no place for a valkyrie'. What she saw I did, and for a moment was mine, your sleight of hand, of words. Magician, that you are, thank you!!!

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  33. Very different take on war poetry. It shouldn't work, with such disparate modern and mythological elements - but it does, and that's a tribute to the hard work that must have gone on behind the scenes.

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  34. From the first line I saw that she truly was the "chooser of the slain" as "She stood on the last hill and looked down."

    Then, the end was haunting and precise..."The desert is no place for a valkyrie."

    Beautifully written and even the gory details are painted perfectly onto the page. Wonderfully descriptive and real!

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  35. Stunning. It'll take me a while to recover!

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg