Thursday, December 25, 2014

Reposts for Christmas, Finale

Goat watching

Yule Goat

In December’s dark descent
across crackled breaking sky ice
slivered with dagger snow,
bells ring in whitened night, sharp
hooves stamp on the cloudcloth
shaking pearl dust stripes on
viridian spruces, candelabra arms
turquoise and white pinwheels
circling their wands
of bitter bark raven haunted.

The god of thunders 
pulls the sun's shadow,
flickering hammer tucked
in his brace of clouds,
drives his twin goats
toward the time when day
and night are strait, equals at last
as Odin's wild hunt 
passes damned, mad,
howling overhead

the Snarler and the Grinder
fleet of foot, heedless of fate
run on; tonight's feast, tomorrow’s
feat, killed for meat this starveling
night, raised at dawn.
Spread the skins and 
let each bone 
fall with care so
those here reborn may
race again on the solar wind.

O bright black eye
split with too much knowledge
devil’s mask, canting voice
of the abyss, god's bearer, hunger's enemy
come bless us this Yule with your
yellow stare, ignite yourself
against the hag’s winter storm,
flute your flames through a straw ribcage. 
Watch us make the old dance new again
under the reckless stars.

~December 2011
I have reposted this little Yule tale for Christmas the last few years, and don't see any reason to stop now. ;_) 
A very happy Yuletide to all my readers, and a bright and beautiful New Year.

Notes: In Norse myth, Thor was not only provided with his mountain-shattering hammer Mjölnir, his magical, strength doubling belt Megingjörð, but a chariot in which he traveled through the sky pulled by two goats, Tanngrisnir (Old Norse "teeth-barer, snarler") and Tanngnjóstr (Old Norse "teeth grinder") spoken of in the Prose Edda, who could be slain for food at Thor's discretion then resurrected with the power of Mjölnir and returned to the traces.

~ from wikipedia: 'The Yule Goat is one of the oldest Scandinavian and Northern European Yule and Christmas symbols and traditions. Originally denoting the goat that was slaughtered during the Germanic pagan festival of Yule, "Yule Goat" now typically refers to a goat-figure made of straw. It is also associated with the custom of wassailing, sometimes referred to as "going Yule Goat" in Scandinavia.' As always, I've taken a few liberties with the letter of the myths.You can read more about the folklore of the Yule Goat here  and the Wild Hunt here.


  1. Happy Yule from one goat to another!

  2. Joy, thank you for your contribution to the world of poetry this year, and the years past. It is a privilege to read your work. You stretch the rest of us to try a little harder.

  3. I feel privileged that you spend time reading and contributing your thoughts on my little pens. Thank you for your friendship and insight, wit and inspiration ~

  4. The cold Scandanavian jig here -- pagan and mythic, boreal and cththonic (or Titan -- old old school) -- is what makes this such a delight for the ear. Poetry is the most archaic language, don't you think? Reading this made me think of some of Ted Hughes' primal work, brutal, maleficent, pure. Maybe it's how the atheist mind can still conceive god(s), a proscenium that leads both forward and back ... Dunno, but in such harrows the hallows ("making the old dance new again"). What we come to know was known long ago, served up in the slaughtered Yule goat, can still regenerate in tomorrow's meaty poem--heated in the remains of our hearts. Maybe it's the vast territory of our pre-human selves that sings here, at the same time our post-human fate. Whatever, 'tis holy enough for me. Thanks for a generous helping.

  5. This is a firm favourite of mine. I feel more connected to the spirit of the pagan celebrations of the winter solstice, as being more legitimate than what has become of Christmas in modern times.

  6. There is a beautiful beat here, primal effervescence... Thank you for (re)posting. It's wonderful and feels oh-so-fitting with this year. Cheers!

  7. Thanks so much to everyone. I am down for the count atm with my back, but hope to be back in the game for the New Year. Once again, I want to express my appreciation to all who read and comment--it means more than I can say.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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