Friday, March 9, 2012

Freyja Speaks to the Skalds

John Bauer-Freja


Freyja Speaks to the Skalds



Now I call you, brother
across the ticking void
Feel my hand in yours,
over the scars and tears.
I’m with you where you sit
milling the weary hours
finer finer into a dry flour
that chokes the heart’s pores
for it’s bitter bread

as I was with you
when you raised the promise-cup
in Midgard’s torch-red halls
and played for swinish ears 
that ragged tune
of stars and battles, destinies of glass
of ebbing tides and the bones
of love’s last child, with
the gods' last dance

there before
we wore our names,
when your hand spiraled
deep in the womb black cave, 
lining for me the ochre herds
wallrunning to fill the stomach
of evernight with life
for all eternity’s migration.
I held you up

in your thin skin boat
of fancy's faith and grief;
I tried you, through the floods 
of high seas’ anchorage,
through the dark blood conquest,
holding the dripping blade. In
the stone-ringed grove
under the crooked moon
I spared your life, 

left you one-eyed, lamed but singing
in a tinsel of smudged neon night
on a winedark streetcorner wave
where every loss collides
in subway clamor or benched
in garden’s dusky still, for you my
pole-circling breath melts and blows
the spice of far Carib, because
I call you brother.

Under threads of silver gold
where seven shed skins make 
a thorny crossroads of your face
still you vigil for the heartsong.
Hear my fade note whisper on shadow wind:
call me, call me, always I will come
but when the sun pours through
white curtains and every
bell is ringing

of course the spell
is broken and
I’m gone.


February-March 2012


Posted for    real toads
Challenge: Love and Affection 
"I write because I love it."
~Joan Armatrading


I've had this one in the works awhile, but this prompt really helped it crystalize and while it may seem an odd choice for the theme in some ways, it is about love, the tenuous, pervasive and demanding love  between the Muse in all her guises and her chosen victims and celebrators, along with my usual magpie mix of Norse and other myth, history and prehistory, some of which I owe to the Celtic and Early/Post-Christian 
mytho-poetic synthesis of Brendan MacOdrum of Oran's Well. 
Thank you Brendan, for Lascaux, the coracles and the garden bench.



Freyja: in Norse mythology, a goddess associated with love, beauty, fertility, gold, seiðr(sorcery), war, and death. (Technically,her brother is Freyr, per wikipedia, among other things 'a phallic fertility god,...[given] Álfheimr, the realm of the Elves, as a teething present.')
skald or scald:
 —n    (in ancient Scandinavia) a bard or minstrel
[from Old Norse, of unknown origin]~World English Dictionar
Promise cup: 'The bragarfull "promise-cup" or bragafull "best cup" or "chieftain's cup" (compare Bragi, [god of poetry]) was in Norse culture a particular drinking from a cup or drinking horn on ceremonial occasions, often involving the swearing of oaths...'~wikipedia

Image: Freja, By John Bauer 1882-1918 (www.uppsalaauktion.se) [Public domain], 

22 comments:

  1. I don't know how this got so long--didn't realize it until I looked at it published. Yeesh! Certainly couldn't have done this one in 55 words--or even lines. :P Thanks to Marian for helping me get this one out of the files and finished.

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  2. nice...love the opening stanza, it sets the stage well for your storytelling through the center...but i think my fav part is the close...

    Hear my fade note whisper on shadow wind:
    call me, call me, always I will come
    but when the sun pours through
    white curtains and every
    bell is ringing

    of course the spell
    is broken and
    I’m gone.

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  3. I think music and love both have been
    there before
    we wore our names,
    when your hand spiraled
    deep in the womb black cave..

    And you and Brendan have cornered the market on these myth-rich tales.

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  4. Beautifully visual journey. The last stanza and closing lines resonated for me. Something about that morning sun coming through the window sends my muse running for cover.

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  5. What a lovely poem that describes the conflicted call and answer of this task you take up so beautifully every day. The longing never ends, in spite of the mischievous evasive answer. Always so gorgeous the way you weave precious metals, flowers, herbs, blood and fear. You and Brendan make such a great duo of mythic tides.

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    Replies
    1. This one definitely owes a lot to his work. Thanks, Ruth.

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  6. I love the bits of modernity that seep into the poem in the fifth verse/stanza. Excellent.

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  7. What a story telling piece, Joy!

    "but when the sun pours through
    white curtains and every
    bell is ringing

    of course the spell
    is broken and
    I’m gone"

    The ending normally frustrates when we recall it was a dream. Beautiful write!

    Hank

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  8. so much to love here. phrases even like "bitter bread" and my favorite, "there before we wore our names." love it. epic!

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    1. Thanks for the prompt, Marian--and for helping me get this one out.

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  9. I can't deal with the erudite part--my brain doesn't take it in, unfortunately, so I like the poem just on the visual and aural level. Lovely there. I think of twins, the regressive one. I know that's not really right, but I have this image of two in a womb. K.

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    1. Whatever you find to enjoy in it is right afa I'm concerned, K. Sorry if the myth parts were too convoluted. Thanks for reading.

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  10. I am in agreement with Brian that while the whole thing is quite a work of genius, the stanza that has the line "here my fade note whisper on shadowed wind" gave me the chills, one of those I wish I would have written. Great job, creative take on the challenge.

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  11. This is spectacular, kiddo. the "bitter bread", "the bones of love's last child"......and especially the final six stunning lines. Wowzers!

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  12. This is wonderful...You write myth so real I am captured by it. Great job!

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  13. Too long? Ha! That's like the Holy Roman Emperor complaining to Mozart that there were too many notes in one of his concertos ... I think you nailed the precise relation of the Muse to h/her chosen votive, not erotic but fraternal (or sororal), possessing the same essential genetics and blood type and voice. Some say the Muse is fickle, but here she's pure devotion and duration, a permanent presence in the liminal nowhere of inspiration of the old Skald poet whose verses have swum continuously from Odin to Jones. Thank Freya for encouraging the lost anchorite in stanza 4, who sometimes wonder if no next shore can be found in poetry. And I loved how the thick old blood of Norse myth (bubbled by Freya) still shines on the contemporary otherworlds in stanza 5. I dunno what you get from my mythic well other than a You Go Girl to skinny-dipping your verses in your own -- know that many of the mythic freedoms I've indulged were inspired as a response to your own, Gael to Nord, sibling mytholigies perhaps ... This sort of heart-music goes so much deeper than romance. Freya's love and affection outlasts passion and even love because true singing is, as Rilke said, about "nothing. A gust inside the god. A wind." Here's to her faint note on the shadow wind as hard breezes rough the oaks outside. There's always space on the garden bench for a fellow volunteer, for a laugh, a tale and a tear ... Brendan

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    1. Well, I thought it might not be too long for *some* people--;-) still, I couldn't cut a word of it. Yes I think the two mythologies, Celtic and Norse, along with their near-death experience infusion of christianity, are definitely entwined--bards and skalds, sidhe and the nine worlds of giants and elves and all that went underground, waiting for the last battle, for Arthur or Odin, island ocean cultures bound by a salt water blood brotherhood. AFA the inspirations I get at the Well--those shaman dime rides to Lascaux and out where it's not what we think it is at all in a skin shell on a bottomless ocean to return to the fragrant garden inhabit this poem, and perhaps the song itself, wherever it is composed. Thanks for your generous reading, B.

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  14. I like the myth weaving in your words...you and Brendan work magic with this music prompt. The last 2 verses resonated with me ~

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  15. Incredible, gorgeous intensity to this!

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  16. the most emotional part for me was...
    in your thin skin boat
    of fancy's faith and grief;
    I tried you, through the floods
    of high seas’ anchorage,
    through the dark blood conquest,
    holding the dripping blad... this is tight with emotions and gave me shivers..

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  17. a very hedgewitch love song filled with mythology and magic ~ i LOVE you starting off as the muse for the miller. {i believe that cooking and baking are just as creative as any art though they are quite transitory.}

    an amazing response to the prompt!

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