All Their Voices

Words and thoughts in devotion to the Divine


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What we need vs what They need

If the spirits or Gods want something out of you, something MORE, they will turn your life upside down and rip it to shreds to reweave the threads into a pattern more fitting for their desires.

 

Not necessary a criticism. Just an observation.

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Observation about the afterlife

You know…for all that I am fulltrui to Odin, I am not expecting to go to Valhalla when I die, and that is for the simple fact that I am not a warrior. The idea of fighting and dying every day only to get up the next day and do it all over again sounds like my definition of the Christian Hell. I’m a rapidly-approaching-elderly housewife with some poetic skill, and I’ll be just fine with a warm bench in one of Hela’s quieter halls.

Combat isn’t everything, and sometimes honor can be found places other than at the sharp end of a sword.


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Kingly

The enemy saw my girth,
my rude way of dressing,
my cheerful nature,
and branded me a fool.
They were wrong, of course;
they thought to weaken me,
humiliate me with their demands:
as if eating a huge bowl of porridge
would leave me unfit for battle!
They learned, to their grief,
how wrong they were,
when I slew Cirb, son of Buan,
when he entered the fray.

Some among my own thought me simple;
they forgot my deeds of strategy
at the Plain of Props, and thought
they could trick me into giving up
such things as were mine;
when my most beautiful son
sought a place of his own, and
my half-brother,
the most skilled one of all of us,
thought to help me, they could come up
with no more than a petty play on words,
and that in our own tongue;
yet they thought that enough to take
the Bru na Boinne, and I let them,
for I love my son, and am I not
the most amiable and easy-going
of all of our folk?

Some among the bards think me
indolent, and lazy, and slow,
content to let others do my work for me,
as when I handed command of our forces
to my half-brother during the heated battle,
as when I might have served as champion
to our silver-handed king, but left that task
to my brother; but I had other matters to
contemplate and carry out, and those things
required more of me than a moment’s stolen grace.

Some thought me weak and cowardly;
those who were thus mistaken are all dead.
Skulls smashed in battle, brains spilled,
blood loosed in rivers from the veins where it swam.
I suffer none to hold me in such contempt,
and showed my foes the errors of their ways.
None may stand against my mighty club,
nor the heft of the thews that wield it,
nor the strength of the one who lifts it.

Some account me lusty, and on this,
they are correct, though mistaken are those
who think I show disrespect for my wife
by my trysts with others;
but when was it a crime for a man or a god
to admire a beautiful face, a shapely form,
and want to explore such beauty further?
If such is a crime, then all of us are criminals,
and not just men, but women too, though
many would not care to admit to such.
But I refuse to recoil from such joy and pleasure
when the opportunities present themselves,
and of me and my prowess, no woman I’ve
bedded has ever complained.
Even the Phantom Queen Herself,
fierce and dreadful and terrifying to behold,
has known the embrace of my arms,
the skill with which I wield that other club of mine,
and when we were finished, She lamented not.
In this, I am content.

Those who might mock me, think to cheat me,
hold me in disdain, find me unwitting, beware:
Among all the Tuatha de, you will find no greater King.
Underestimate me at your peril.


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For Nehalennia

Across the oceans,

The traders come,

The ships with their cargoes

Cresting the waves;

Enduring storm and sea,

Wave and woe,

To bear their goods home.

Pottery, cloth, oil, wine—

Making men rich for their labor.

But those voyages are always a risk,

Dependent on the whims of the water

to make their way from foreign shore

to home docks.

 

Thus, o merciful lady,

We offer these stones:

Every time a storm threatens to sink our ship,

We appeal to you, bright one:

Let us live, and afterward,

We rear these votives in your name.

A gift for a gift,

And for our lives, we honor you

Who gave them to us.

A gift for a gift;

You do not need our worship, surely,

For you are a goddess,

And we are but men.

But something about it

Seems to please you anyway,

And so we continue this tradition,

Offering up payment for our lives

Every time you see fit

To return them unto us.


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“Blood and Roses”

How in the world could he not love her?
No one else loved blood
as much as he did, but her:
scores of lovers, spurned,
opening their veins in despair
for what they could not have:
love and passion’s ultimate offering.
And millions of hearts
where love is turned to hatred:
such passion.
The opposite of love is not hate,
but indifference.

Beauty such as hers is deadly, always:
as bright as a sword’s blade,
fierce as Greek fire,
sharp as a sword’s point:
beauty to die for.

The Lord of War does not love much–
oh, passion he knows, war is all about passion,
but love? Blood and bodies,
weapons and wrath,
but that tenderer emotion is
all but a stranger to him.

Save for her.
Never has she asked him to give up his zeal–
never asked him to foreswear
the slaughter, the battles,
the bloodied steel, the corpses.
She understands the love of that
which makes one’s heart sing,
no matter whether it is her bourne or no.

That is her power, then:
that she could make even him know love,
of all those in the world–
he whose being is entirely devoted
to the ending of life,
rather than the act that creates it.

And in that, he acknowledges
which of them is more powerful.


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Ballroom

Down in the depths,
the Nereids dance—
Not the gavotte,
they all take a chance
To sway in a waltz,
to jig and to swing,
The Nereids dance,
and the sirens all sing.

The Nereids dance
while Triton approves;
Poseidon won’t laugh—
both gods like their moves.
The sirens all sing
as the waves ebb and flow,
The Nereids dance:
it’s all undertow.

The sirens all sing
while the mers play the tune—
The vision is bliss
in the light of the moon.
The light stretches far—
far under the waves:
The dance floor is made
of dead sailors’ graves.

The bones shimmer white;
with kelp they are bound,
And the Nereids dance
where dead men are found.
The sea never gives
up the bones of the dead:
The Nereids dance
when the waves all turn red.

The sirens all sing,
and the Nereids dance;
If you would sail,
you must take a chance:
Battles and storms
send the ships far below
And the Nereids dance
as the waves ebb and flow.


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Hermod’s Ride

The road to Hel is long and hard;
cold is the road to Helheim,
the way rocky and long.
When you ride to Hel’s hall,
your fears ride with you,
your ghosts ride with you.

With Sleipnir beneath me
I ride to Hel, and to Hel’s hall,
and though swift are the steps
of Loki’s son,
still the road is long and weary.
The journey to Hel lasts a lifetime.

The road that leads to Hel is not empty;
there are others traveling along this road,
others I find going this way.
The souls of the dead travel the road to Hel,
those that do not go elsewhere.

I go at the behest of the All-Father;
I go at the will of the Fetter-God;
I go at the command of the sire of Baldr,
sent to entreat Hel herself,
sent to ask for the return of the soul of Baldr,
to beg back the life of Baldr.

Móðguðr guards the bridge,
the bridge that crosses the noisy river
into the vast lands of Hel;
she admits none into Helheim
save those who have the right to be there.

Who would not fear riding through
those gates into Hel’s hall?
I am accounted brave,
and brave some say I must be,
to ride a brother’s back into a sister’s hall,
and demand back Baldr from the ruler of that place,
but I confess: I feared.

But I stood fast and made my plea,
and she answered.
That it was not the answer I might
have wished for, that Odin might have wanted,
was of no consequence:
it was the answer that she gave us,
and when the queen of Helheim
has made up her mind,
nothing in all the nine worlds will shift it.

Back I went, along the way,
that cold and winding way,
that hard and lonely way,
that longest of long ways,
the road that led back from Hel.

They call me a messenger, for that ride,
but it was no message I carried down the road from Hel:
in my hands, I carried
the bloody hearts of two parents,
grieving for their son.