Friday, December 24, 2021

The Yule Goat


Happy Yule to All!

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
emerald 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 
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

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.

Header Photo: Goat watching, by on flick'r
Shared under a Creative Commons License 
Footer Photo: The Gävle goat burning, author unknown
All copyright belongs to the copyright holder


  1. Aww, sweet arghh, on Ristr! on Jostr! Drive Od's hotcar cross the Yule sky, passing "damned, mad, "howling overhead." Such an invocation, charmed with "dagger snow" on "candelabra arms" for the "god of thunders" splitting the year in two at solstice. The Goat's split eye stares back with the Devil's — how could it not after fifteen centuries at failed conversion? May that Eye stare back in pleased welcome to the fire in the night which makes the old gods roar. Lotta wood to carry this year but it makes for a toasty Yule. Thanks Hedge and a wassailing wassup from Odrain, my well-spook who sounds so much like Odin.

    1. Thanks, B. May all the old gods see this dying year out with us, and light the flame for another year's voyage into the unknown.

  2. this is beautiful joy. as i was hearing it in my mind i was reminded of gary clark jr's rendition of jimi hendrix's "3rd stone from the sun", which to me sounds like sunrise. listen to this poem felt like sunrise, or perhaps i'm just feeling overly hopeful =) joy, it was a pleasure reconnecting with you this year and i look forward to reading more of you wonderful words in the year to come, and thank you for being so kind to all my weird poems. have a very happy yule!

    1. Thank you, Phillip, for sharing your impressions and feelings about my poetry. I get great pleasure from hearing them. I hope this next year brings you happiness and all of us better days.


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