Saturday, December 4, 2021



"..from where will a sun come into the smooth heaven
when Fenrir has assailed this one?"~Vafþrúðnismál
They say the basilisk
walks her own wasteland,
each green thing that springs
corrupted by her breath,
each life that starts
turned to stone as
she spies it, so that she lives 
with nothing all her days.
She knows the sphinx
has long since forgotten
all riddles but the one
whose answer is sand.
The wolf at the door
puts his paw on the child's neck.
His breath smells of tiny lives, 
his eyes are round as the moon.

He waits with her for the Ragnarök
to devour the world, to swallow the gods
to bring a new sun
to the skies we defile

but while waiting he smiles
his dog-smile, his tongue soft on her cheek.
From deep in the shadows 
the basilisk regrets
the power of myth, and
 the child
waits to grow
and run with the wolf.

December 2021

posted for Fireblossom
Note: In Norse myth,  ragnarök refers not only to a time when gods and men will fight against monsters and jotuns and be destroyed, but also to the world which will follow, where the earth is purified and gods, nature and man are given a second chance.
Images: Odin and Fenris, 1909 © Dorothy Hardy   Public Domain
Wolf and child, via The Sunday Muse  author unknown Fair Use


  1. I love this, especially the dog-smile and the tongue on her cheek. Sigh. Wonderful.

  2. Girl! How on earth can you write something this amazing when you feel so poorly after your booster? Being sick is the one time I can't write a single word, so I am very impressed. After looking up "basilisk"-- I somehow had it confused with "monolith"--I read that fantastic opening stanza and though wow, but I bet the second can't be this good. Then, of course, because this was written by you, the second is every bit as good. I won;t be dull and quote your own writing back to you, but there are so many ideal wordings here. And the dog-smile. I'll stop now, just know that I LOVE this, and am so impressed that you created this while not feeling well.

  3. I love the progression from the first set of stanzas to the last set. A doom and loneliness to something that holds a power and comradery. The last lines are a magnificent close to a poem that only you could write Joy. Your talent is inspiring!!

  4. Joy,
    "the basilisk regrets/the power of myth": all the destructive forces at work are no match against belief that engenders hope and renewal. The way you reach this powerful conclusion is just beyond mere craftsmanship, just genius. I enjoyed this so much and there are lines here that will continue to resonate like,
    "She knows the sphinx
    has long since forgotten
    all riddles but the one
    whose answer is sand."
    What an absolute pleasure to read!

  5. Should I be feeling sorry for the basilisk? Will this be the only world she's given--unable to pass into 'perfection' because she's the breakdown of the imperfect?

  6. "She knows the sphinx has long since forgotten all riddles but the one whose answer is sand." - Oooh! Oooh! So good. Love the way you bring all that darkness to a wrap that myth gives us the handholds to run with the wolves.

  7. Another amazing write, you have woven mythology into pieces of now. One only needs to read a bit between the lines. The last line speaks of freedom to come in running wild with the wolf.

  8. Your poetry never fails to elicit a strong emotional response ~~ and I thank you. The closing lines ~~~ sigh.

  9. Sometimes the most beautiful things are also the most terrifying. I like the epic you write here based on old Norse mythology.

  10. You wrote, and please know, I read. Though these days, I’m nearly blind of eye, and debilitatingly arthritic of fingers — I placed this prepared comment here as an ongoing thank you for sharing your words. I am grateful to be able to visit , and I will do so as long as I am able. I appreciate you opening your soul, Hedgewitch.

  11. Two readings of myth for me here, one ruled by a death-goddess consumed now by sand (what a great punch at the end of stanza 1), the other fearing not the dark, the moon, the wolf's breath in one's ear. How much one fears death perhaps decides the two courses. Fenrir's evil derives more I think from his age - a primal god, feared like the Titans by the Olympians, the Formorians by the Tuatha - whose dark rites were bloody and true. Perhaps. It's also quite possible to become dead-ended by one's myth, and it is sure comfort to read between its lines. Very muscular poem, Hedge, a hmm and and amen from across the pond. (BTW, wolves are kin to an old goddess who's inking my pen of late.)

  12. I needed this poem. I feel so dark lately, yet bits of light do come through. I had to look up the word "basilisk." I think my mother had that look. Your writing is always so powerful. Thank you for sharing your work with us.

  13. we (and by 'we', I place myself among the non-humans though of course I am among the worst of us - a consumer) welcome that hope of renewal, I wager, where Fenrir is less the harbinger of doom, but welcomed as the protector of the wild, of the world pre-man, the world unmanned. ~


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